Sheltering in place can create parents struggling to keep their kids healthy and occupied. It is a difficult balance between work, child care and keeping worries under control. Here are some tips from the therapists at New Hope to help manage stress and calm fears.
Keep a routine in place
Consistency and structure are calming during times of stress. Even though kids are out of school and parents might be working from home it is important to have kids get up, and follow a routine. The schedule can be based loosely on a school day where activities can change and alternate between study and play.
When kids are anxious they often benefit from knowing what is going to happen in their day.
It may be helpful to make a chart to put on the refrigerator of activities.
Create family fun activities/memories
- Read together
- Laugh at silly videos or jokes
- Art/craft projects
- Work on a puzzle
- Play in nature
- Bake together
- Play board games
- Acts of kindness
- Warm weather is here – plant a garden
- Exercise: daily family walk or yoga
Manage your own anxiety
It is normal to have anxiety right now during the COVID19 crisis. How we manage stress as adults directly impacts our kids and how they respond. Make sure your kids are not around when you are talking about your concerns. Talk to kids about what is happening in a developmentally appropriate way for their age group. Kids do not need to know the same details that adults know.
Take time outs when you feel overwhelmed. This might look like stepping outside, taking a shower, calling a friend.
Try to limit the amount of news and social media that can increase feelings of anxiety.
Keep connected with friends and family–virtually
Download some breathing apps.Some suggestions are:
The goal is to keep your family safe and healthy during this time. Be flexible and remember this is uncharted territory so be kind to yourself and your kids.
Diane Darby | Clinical Director | New Hope BCCAC