Children and families are experiencing many changes in their daily lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – children are participating in online learning, more family members are home throughout the day, and many are feeling a wide array of emotions. Here are some tips, tricks, and ideas for how to uphold a sense of normalcy within the household, engage in fun, family-filled activities, maintain communication, utilize coping strategies to decrease feelings of anxiety and offer support to children during this difficult time.
Activities and Scheduling
Maintain your family routine – bedtime, meals, schoolwork/homework and exercise can occur at usual times throughout the days
Engage in activities that are fun and help you and your family members feel better in other stressful situations! Some examples of self-care activities you can participate in include exercising, reading, listening to music, mindfulness and meditation, and watching a favorite movie
Encourage participation in household chores – when children participate in household duties, they may feel a sense of autonomy, ownership, and accountability
Some ideas include board games, puzzles, card games, watching a new movie and a story read-aloud
Create a “Family Fun” wheel! Take a sheet of paper and cut into the shape of a circle. Divide the circle into as many parts as you would like, based on the amount of activities you and your family would partake in (i.e. six activities would call for six sections in the circle)
Draw, color and decorate each section of the circle with one labeled activity
Spin the wheel (or roll a dice if you would rather label each activity with a number) for a different activity that you and your family can participate in!
Games that require no materials except paper, markers/crayons/colored pencils: Pictionary, create your own Scrabble board (take paper and write letters, cut, and create board game) and Charades
Maintaining Communication and Connection
Develop a plan for maintaining communication with others. It is important that children and family members continue to socialize with each other, as well as friends from school and the community.
You can schedule phone calls, video chats, etc. with family and friends the same way that play dates are scheduled.
Offering Support to Children
Discuss concerns about COVID-19 in a safe and comfortable place, and continue to check-in with your child on a regular basis.
Address your child’s fears, concerns and worries, as well as any misconceptions about COVID-19. Parents can also monitor and limit media exposure that may be considered overwhelming, inaccurate and/or traumatizing
Support and encourage expression of feelings through drawing and art activities – we should be mindful that it may be difficult for children to express their feelings verbally, so we can offer as many creative outlets as possible to support communication among one another!
Recognize and acknowledge that feelings such as anxiety, sadness, loneliness and confusion are normal during times of uncertainty. Validate your child’s feelings.
Parents are role models to their children! Exhibit behavior that you would like your child to model – if you can utilize helpful coping strategies to decrease feelings of stress, anxiety and/or worry, communicate openly about your feelings, and engage in fun and healthy activities at home, your child will notice those actions and model those behaviors!
If you or someone in your family is struggling during this time, you are not alone! We're continuing to provide psychotherapy services here at Liz Morrison Therapy via teletherapy – please do not hesitate to reach out for further support by calling 347-758-2985 or emailing Liz@LizMorrisonTherapy.com
Continue to stay safe and healthy during these trying times!