By Christine Weinzapfel-Hayden, Youth First, Inc.
America has found itself in a medical crisis that most people didn’t see coming. There have been a lot of sudden changes in our lives that we weren’t anticipating. One of the most significant changes is the sudden break from school. Some school corporations have announced they will not resume school this year.
It is crucial that we help provide our children with sense of comfort during this time. What are some things we can do to help provide our children with comfort and routine during a time that seems to be anything BUT routine?
First, take care of your own mental health. If you’re feeling anxious about current events it is very important to minimize your own anxiety. Your children will be able to tell that you’re anxious, and this could create some anxiety in them as well.
Strategies for managing your anxiety might include meditation, exercise, yoga, and reading. It is important that you have an outlet during this time. Be sure conversations you’re having about your own fears are not happening in front of your children.
Your kids are probably spending a lot more time at home than they’re used to. It is important to provide them with some normalcy during this time. If you have assignments for them to complete, set aside time daily for them to do this work. This time should be structured and quiet, much like their school day.
If you do not have assignments your children are working on at this time, I strongly suggest creating structured time in their day where they read quietly or work on age-appropriate math and language arts activities. There are a lot of websites providing free services at this time due to so many schools being closed. Keeping some structured time is important; when they return to school it will help lessen the shock.
Once you have your structured time planned, it is also important to build in fun. I know it seems more difficult to have fun when you’re stuck in your house. This is a perfect time to dust off those old board games, have some killer dance parties, try a new recipe together and remember what it’s like to enjoy each other’s company without deadlines and schedules hanging over your head.
Times are difficult and confusing right now, but we can absolutely make the best of it. Take this time to enjoy togetherness with those you love most.