COVID-19 has turned our kids’ lives completely upside down. Their routines have been disrupted, they can’t go to school, and they’ll be really concerned by all that’s going on.
And while we’re all in it together, a chaotic time like this can be particularly overwhelming for a young child — especially if they’re struggling to understand why we’re all in lockdown in the first place.
Of course, it’s important to talk to your child about coronavirus and why such strict measures have been put in place to slow the spread. But you can also do a lot to help keep their mood up in and around the house.
From fun activity ideas to advice on how you should be behaving right now, this article will cover all you need to know.
Be open and transparent with your children
If you want to help your kids stay calm in isolation, it’s a good idea to be as open and honest as you can about the situation we all find ourselves in right now.
Although your instinct might be to protect your children from what’s happening, it’ll only confuse them further if you don’t explain to them why they’re not at school, why they can’t see their friends, and why they’ve got to stay inside for a little while.
It’s also the case that, thanks to constant media coverage, your children are likely to stumble across headlines that — without being pre-briefed — are scary.
So, take control of what your child knows about this pandemic, and reassure them that everything is going to be OK. This way, the whole family will be on the same page and can work towards getting through this tough time together.
Keep your kids busy with well-structured days
In times like these, it’s really important to keep your kids as occupied as you can. If your children are sitting around with not a lot to do, they’re far more likely to overthink and stress out about the situation.
It’s also a good idea to structure your child’s day, as this will bring order and certainty to their lives when they need it most. It’ll give you the chance to organize your day around times when you know your children will be occupied — crucial if you’re holding down a job from home, too.
Not sure where to start? Try something as simple as splitting the day in half. Spend the first half on learning and the second half on play. This’ll help you strike the right balance between education and fun.
How you fill your child’s day will be up to you, but a few of favorite ideas include:
- Reading books
- Completing worksheets
- Watching documentaries
- Quizzing each other on new topics
- Playing in the backyard (if you have one)
- Going for a walk
- Playing board games
- Watching films.
Get creative, and have some fun — it’s needed now, more than ever!
Set your children a new goal to achieve
In line with keeping your kids active and busy, setting them a new goal to achieve in quarantine will really focus their efforts on something productive (not on worrying about what might or might not happen next).
You could encourage your child to learn a few phrases of a new language, to begin learning a new instrument (if you’ve got any in the house), to read a full book, to work on a fitness goal, or to carry out one random act of kindness each day in lockdown.
This is a great way to distract your kids from the stress of coronavirus, and will also ensure that they spend their time productively over the coming weeks.
Organize video calls with their friends
Lack of socialization is bad for a child’s well-being, and missing their friends could make your child feel lonely, frustrated, and stressed about the ongoing need to self-isolate.
That’s why it’s a good idea to bring your child’s friends to them (at least digitally!) in these testing times.
Contact other parents and organize a group video chat for your child and their friends. This will break down the barriers of quarantine and give your child a much-needed morale boost to keep any stress and anxiety away.
Depending on the age of your child, there’s no reason why they couldn’t arrange this themselves, of course. But if your child doesn’t yet have a phone or isn’t tech-obsessed already, there’s no harm in stepping in and putting the wheels in motion.
Just make sure that you give your child the space they need to chat openly about how they’re feeling right now — even if that’s just to complain about being ‘stuck at home all day with mom and dad’. We all need our outlets, after all!
Try to control your own emotions when in front of your children
This is a tricky one. While you want to be open and real with your kids about what’s going on in the world, you definitely don’t want to worry them with your own anxieties.
For example, the financial consequences of this pandemic are extremely overwhelming but are probably best kept private. And the fear around elderly relatives could also be quite worrying for your children, too, especially since they can’t be there to help.
Do all you can to hit the sweet spot between being open with your kids and putting on somewhat of a brave face whenever they’re around.
You’ve got this!
Remember: none of this is easy. So if you’re struggling to stay positive and on top of things, you certainly wouldn’t be alone.
But children can respond particularly badly to change, so it’s worth doing all you can to keep them settled right now — for your sake, as well as theirs.
And if you’re struggling to find content to keep your kids busy in lockdown, head over to our worksheet library for some much-needed inspiration.
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Link will appear as How to help your child get through social isolation stress-free: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 23, 2020