There are many questions and concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shutdown of schools, business establishments and restaurants combined with social distancing and self-quarantine have resulted in major changes to how daily lives are navigated.
Families with children of all ages are impacted by these changes. Parents are creatively looking to adapt to new routines to support their children while seeking to establish responsibility, peace and joy in the household. The balancing act can bring both rewards and challenges.
Staying at home and following the directives from government officials is important. Finding safe and meaningful ways to support children is another. Here are some tips to help.
- Practice frequent hand washing with soap and water. When not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Wash or clean incoming groceries before bringing them into the home.
- Wipe down common household surfaces, such as the kitchen/bathroom counters, dining table, doorknobs, refrigerator handles, faucet handles, etc.
- Create a calm tone. Adults should strive to be self-aware. Anxiety may be high, but it’s important to provide reassurance and calm to children who are watching and listening to how adults adapt.
- Check in with loved ones and talk with children about their thoughts and feelings. For younger children, follow their lead. Be honest and use appropriate talk. Limit child viewing of daily news broadcasts. For older children, be honest and have age-appropriate discussions. Validate their concerns while providing reassurance and understanding for their feelings.
- Maintain routines. Young children need structure that replicates a school week. Make time for snacks and movement breaks.
- Give daily, positive affirmations and encourage family members.
- Offer healthy and nutritious snacks and meals.
- Use the time at home to engage in activities such as board games, baking, puzzles, home projects, book discussions, arts and crafts, etc.
- Encourage age-appropriate family chores. Offer praise for completed chores, and talk about how everyone is working together.
- Write down intentions and realistic expectations for the day.
- Exercise self-compassion.