The days have never looked so different to what they do now hey? Kids with endless amounts of energy being told to stay at home, stay in their rooms, “Be quiet whilst I work”, “No you can’t see your friends”, “Don’t make a mess”, “Put your pants on, I am on a ZOOM call” :). Yeh good luck with that and it looks like Lockdown 2.0 is really taking its toll on our mental health. This one has none of the frivolity of Lockdown 1.0, we have all been there and done it before. With the threat of further lockdowns in the future and as the days and weeks melt into one, how can we look after our mental health and that of our children during this time?
My advice is this:
1. Be honest with your kids. Tell them the truth about COVID-19. Don’t tell them it is “just a flu”. How do you think they will react when later in the year or next year you or Granny May comes down with a flu? Use age appropriate language and tell them the truth.
2. Give them some control over the situation by giving them choices that are age appropriate and choices that you agree with. Eg: “Do you want roast beef for dinner or roast chicken”? Not “Do you want chips or roast beef”? 😊 We all know which one most would pick there.
3. Look after your own stress levels and model desired behaviours, a “Monkey see Monkey do” type of approach. Stay positive, stay off social media, turn off the news. Stay informed but not engulfed in all the doom and gloom.
4. Keep socialising via online methods. We need contact and so do our kids. Set up some online chats for them with their friends, extended family members etc and make sure you do this for yourself also.
5. Draw up a daily schedule. Take it day by day. Each day draw up a schedule for the day allowing time for chores, sleep, meals, physical activity, “free time” and screen time. If online learning is something that you will have to deal with then also allow time for school activities.
6. Come up with a list of activities for each child that they can do independently or with little help during their “free time”. This is a list you can simply point to when you need to work or when you hear the inevitable cries of “I am bored” or “there is nothing to do”.
Here are some ideas for your “Free time” lists to help get you started.
2. Bake a cake
4. Colouring in
5. Play hopscotch
6. Card games like Uno
7. Board games like Monopoly
8. Make a blanket fort
10. Have a “Dance off”
11. Cosmic Kids Yoga
12. Put on a concert
13. Put on a magic show
14. Make videos
15. Play on the swing
16. Change bedroom around
18. Read a book
19. Take a virtual train ride (YouTube)
20. Tea party
21. Play dress ups
22. Make an “Affirmations jar or “Gratitude Jar”
23. Nerf gun battle
24. Write a song
27. Ride a bike
28. Play with Match box cars
29. Play with LOL’s/Dolls/Barbies
30. Blow bubbles
31. Chalk drawing on the concrete
32. Start a journal
33. Have a Wrestling match
34. Go on a scavenger hunt
35. Write a story
36. Face time with friends
37. Face time games like charades
38. Watch a movie
39. Watch a documentary
40. Paint a picture
41. Create a comic book strip
43. Have a Mini Olympics
44. Make an obstacle course
45. Make sock puppets
47. Jigsaw puzzle
48. Learn to knit/crochet/sew
49. Paper airplane races
50. Visit the zoo, museum or even space via their interactive websites
Here are some other resources that may help you at this time.
Articles for Parents to Read
Articles for Teens and Adults to Read
Meditations for Kids
Meditations for Kids, Teens and Adults
Remember, stay informed and act accordingly but also stay as positive as you can. Research shows that stress weakens our immune system so anything we can do to stay on top of our stress and anxiety at this time can only help.
I am also available for online sessions at this time should you require personalised strategies.
© copyright. May not be reproduced without acknowledgement to the author. Written by Kim Norton 29th March, 2020 and edited on 12th August, 2020.