Helping Kids Find Balance During Stressful Times
By Contributing Author, Ainsley Lawrence
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a serious toll on households around the world. Not only are many people finding themselves without employment suddenly, but schools around the country have shut down for the foreseeable future. This means that, while families are getting plenty of time to spend together, the dynamic within households has changed significantly.
So how can you make the best out of a bad situation and ensure that your kids stay engaged, healthy, and entertained while they are barred from attending school or going out for playdates with their friends?
Making Sure They Don’t Fall Behind
Parents all over the country have found themselves taking on the role of both caregiver and teacher in the last month without adequate preparation.
While the majority of closed schools are having teachers send out lesson plans to families while they shelter in place, parents still have to contend with setting up their home as a de facto school and keeping their children from falling behind in their studies. It is also important to remember that this is stressful for young children as well considering the structure that they’ve become accustomed to has evaporated almost instantly.
Though children who are sheltering in their place with their families will almost certainly miss seeing their friends each week, there are advantages to homeschooling that they can benefit from in this uncertain time. Being taught within the home is a less hectic environment and can increase focus and productivity, and also comes with the benefit of reduced competition among peers for academic success. It also bears mentioning that, while it can be stressful taking on the role of educator during this crisis, this is all meant to protect your children’s health and well-being.
When setting up your impromptu home classroom, there are a few key things that you should remember that can seriously help you in the weeks to come. While you should pick an area of your home to be your dedicated teaching area, it is important that you set it up in a way that is adaptable to changing lesson plans and comfortable for both you and your child.
You might also consider printing off activities and decorations that emulate what your child regularly sees and does in school to help them feel less like they are sitting in the kitchen or living room and more like they are attending class.
Have Them Help Around The House
Though it is vital that you take care of your children’s needs and mental health during quarantine, you cannot overlook your own mental health needs.
Fortunately, you can address both of these issues by enlisting your kids to help you around the home with chores, yard work, or anything else that needs doing. Just because you possibly have newfound time on your hands doesn’t mean you need to spend every moment entertaining your children — they can help you and learn some valuable life skills in the process.
Having your kids help you to keep a clean house until quarantine and shelter in place rules are no longer in effect can actually help everyone within the home. A clean home can increase productivity, reduce anxiety, result in better sleep, and in general helps your family from becoming too bored of staying indoors. It can also establish new habits if your kids haven’t been used to chores before now.
Keeping older kids productive can prove difficult, especially if they already have a set chore schedule that they adhere to. One way to get keep your teen from getting too antsy while in quarantine is to offer to help them redecorate their bedroom. For many teenagers, their bedroom is one of the only places in the home where they get to fully express their sense of style and letting them get creative with how they decorate and rearrange their space can help them stay centered when the world around them is going a little bit haywire.
Show Them How To Take Care Of Their Body And Mind
While everyone’s social lives take a serious hit when quarantine and shelter in place orders are in effect, it is vital to make sure that your family doesn’t neglect their emotional, mental, and physical health. Self-care is vital to anyone’s well-being, and when you have so much extra time to spend with your family it gives you the opportunity to educate them on proper self-care and to lead by example.
When it comes to physical health, it can be a daunting task to get the right amount of exercise and the proper foods when gyms are closed and local markets are stripped bare of many of the essentials.
That being said, it is necessary that you help your kids get their energy out during the day and cook them as many healthy meals as possible considering the circumstances. Even with shelter in place orders in effect, it isn’t against any rules to go outside for a brisk daily walk as long as you ensure that you and your children are following proper social distancing protocol.
If family walks aren’t something that interests you or your kids, you can always try to get them interested in physical activities at home that don’t require tons of specialized equipment. Yoga is an excellent way to get exercise without having to leave your living room and it has the added benefit of allowing you and your family to meditate which can reduce stress and benefit your mental and emotional wellness.
Living In Unprecedented Times
We are living in extraordinary times and while it can be stressful to balance new responsibilities and schedules that come with an outbreak such as COVID-19, it isn’t impossible to ensure that your kids are happy and healthy during their time at home.
Essentially, you need to give them back the structure that they had before the outbreak and help them to feel as positive about the situation while simultaneously educating them and making sure that they stay on top of their mental, emotional, and physical health.
You’ve got this, and the finish line is just around the corner, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.