The Coronavirus has become a pandemic crisis impacting every aspect of our lives. Parents are being forced into the role of educator as our children are pushed into a home-schooling situation. To add to that stress, many of us do not know how long we will have a paycheck or a job as so many industries are having to reduce operations or shut down completely. We are being asked to limit contact with others. All of this is causing anxieties to rise in both adults and children.
Be mindful that your children are looking to you to see if they should be scared. Do not completely ignore what is happening. Answer your child’s questions in an age appropriate way. Develop a new routine so that your child can feel safe. Talk to them about taking the recommended precautions to stay healthy.
Additionally, do a daily “worry” check in. With my child it goes something like this, “Let’s check in. Tell me something you are worried about today?” or “Are you concerned about anything today?” It is enlightening what you may find out. Many days those concerns have nothing to do with what is currently happening and many times it is something that a parent can address easily. The later is great. It gives you a boost in your confidence level as a parent and your child is reassured that things are okay. Soon, you may find that your child is initiating the daily check in. “Hey Mom! Tell me how your day went? What made you happy today?” At my house, we change the questions up. Sometimes worried focused questions, sometimes feelings focused questions and sometimes activity focused questions.
Here are some ideas for activities that you can do to keep your child engaged and to help with your own self-care during this unsettling time:
Read a book aloud. My child’s class has read aloud time during the school day and it is something he enjoys. Pick a series and read together for thirty minutes a day.
Do an art project together. Draw, make slime, finger paint, color—build with legos.
Write a “book” together. Develop a story line, take turns writing paragraphs, create illustrations. It can be a true or fantasy.
Take a hike. Go someplace and enjoy nature together.
Watch a movie or find a series on Netflix or Amazon Prime that is family friendly. Gilligan’s
Bake or cook with your child. This helps to develop math, reading and survival skills.
Teach your child to clean and disinfect.
Play outside…basketball, catch, blow bubbles, hide and seek, take a walk.
Play tic tac toe, board games, card games, or make up your own game.
Structure can help get you through this crisis and as a bonus the “together time activities” will help to strengthen family bonds.