How to Help Your Children Cope When You’re Coping Yourself

No one was given a prep course on how to handle quarantine, especially not with kids. Here are some suggestions to help you get through these unique times, while making things fun for the family.

  • Virtual play dates:
    • Your children are struggling with social isolation just like you are, reach out to a friend’s parent and see if you can set up a virtual play date for your kids!
  • Try to eat lunch together
    • If you’re working from home, you likely have a lunch break. Your kid is used to having one too. This lunch break is typically a time when they get to socialize, see their friends, and relax from classes and a time when you’re used to catching up with colleagues. Use it as a time to socialize with one another instead.
  • Cook dinner together as a family
    • You may have done this when the kids were little. Or you at least sat down together. Likely, things slipped. Try making this a family activity again.
  • Come up with new activities to keep you both occupied
    • You don’t have to create a novel new game. But use the internet to your advantage during this time. There are so many suggestions circulating my Facebook feed on activities for children at home. Most of them can be accomplished with things you already have in the house.
  • Consider fostering a pet
    • I know what you’re thinking- that’s a lot of responsibility, my kid will get attached, I have enough on my plate, etc. But, now consider this: the pet is entirely your child’s responsibility (obviously this is dependent on age), it will teach them life skills, keep them company, and keep them active. If you’re worried about attachment, consider a program where temporary care is being provided for a family in transition, and the pet has a loving home to go back to in a guaranteed number of days.
  • Maintain a schedule… kind of
    • It’s a weird time. It’s not summer break, but there’s no classroom to go to. Of course top priority is school work, and you should ensure that gets done. But also, if you’re kid wants to read outside in the sunshine for a bit or play ball with their sibling when its still light out, why not let them? Take advantage of the flexibility this time is offering.
  • Have empathy
    • Know that this time is just as challenging for your children as it is for you. You may be experiencing this crisis in different ways, but the impact is similar. Try not to be too harsh if things don’t get done. Encourage your kid to talk about what they’re feeling. Together, work through ways to deal with these emotions.
  • Teach your kid a new skill
    • That old house project you’ve been meaning to get done? Now you have time and a helper! Make it fun!
  • Teach your kid it’s okay to feel
    • Help your child know that their emotions are valid. Teach them to explain exactly what they’re feeling. They aren’t just “sad,” they are anxious about the pandemic, or stressed about school, or feeling upset because they’re missing they’re friends. Understanding exactly what we’re feeling will help us to understand the best ways to combat it.
  • Do those family activities you used to do
    • Watch a movie together at night, do a puzzle, play a game. Enjoy the moments of peace and relaxation you don’t normally get, or you used to get but haven’t had in a long while.
  • Relax
    • Let them play the video game, let their room get a little messy. Understand that these are unprecedented times and it’s okay for everything to not be perfect right now. You’re doing the best you can, and your best is good enough.

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