1. Remember to focus on your healthIt can be easy to lose focus on our own health while taking care of our children, even under normal circumstances. As devoted parents, we are in the habit of making sure everyone around us is healthy. However, we need to stop and check in on ourselves to see how we are feeling. After all, COVID-19 is less of a risk for serious symptoms in children than it is for older adults. We need to make sure we are keeping ourselves healthy (and addressing any illnesses sooner rather than later) so that we can continue to keep our families healthy.
2. Be sure to limit your exposure to the mediaWe all know about the dangers of excessive amounts of screen time for our children. This is one of the reasons many parents set limits on devices. But, we also need to consider limiting our OWN screen time and over-exposure to the media. The news we are receiving day in and day out could cause us visible stress, which may make our children more anxious as they sense our stress and worry. Now, we’re not saying to shut off the news and social media completely, but we are suggesting that you set limits as to when you will allow yourself to look at the news.
3. Create a sense of routineFor those who are home, it may feel as if there is no structure to your day. This is also how many of our children feel. Think about it, they go to school and have a set routine Monday through Friday. Now, this routine has been disrupted by staying at home. To help reduce stress and anxiety for parents and children, we recommend developing a routine for your family while you are home. Maybe in the morning after breakfast it’s chore time, then TV, then learning before lunch, and so on. This will help you and your children create a sense of structure while reducing feelings of uncertainty.
4. Spend extra time with your children and be presentTake this time to really be present with your children and spend the extra time that you have with them. After all, play is the language of children. So, really take the time to play with your children and make them feel comfortable during this time. Our kids grow up in the blink of an eye and we should spend any extra time we have by playing with them, watching movies, and doing all the things we used to do as kids.
5. Provide reassurance when you canWe realize it can be difficult to answer questions your kids may have when you don’t know the answers. To provide peace of mind to your children, be reassuring but be honest. The most important thing is for our children to know they are going to be okay and that their parents are going to be okay. Be sure to reassure them that they are safe, but don’t avoid the subject. Always remember it is okay to say, “I don’t know.”
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