As a parent, you probably never expected that you would have to raise your child in the middle of a pandemic. Afterall, pandemics are something you encounter in history books. However, right now the world faces a COVID-19 pandemic that nobody could have imagined, and it is taking a toll on both adults and children. In normal times, your child would be at school, attending classes, participating in extracurricular activities, and out of your house for most of the day.
Now, you and your family members have probably seen more of each other in the past month than you might have seen in years. Below are a few ways that you can help your child—and yourself—make it through the COVID-19 pandemic without losing your minds.
Through a Child’s Eye
Many adults are having a hard time adjusting to life in this pandemic. And if adults find it difficult to keep a logical head, imagine how it is impacting our children and teens. They are likely having an even harder time trying to understand why the world around them is now so different.
Try to look at the COVID-19 pandemic in the way your child might see it, and help him understand why he cannot go to school and must interact with his friends from the safety of home. Your child is going to have a hard time, but if you get down to his level and explain this confusing time, you can help him understand what is going on in a way he can understand. Continuing to have open conversations with your child can make your time together more manageable.
One of the easiest ways for people to go stir crazy during this unpredictable time is by not staying busy. Children can often become bored, but luckily it is usually easy to keep them entertained. Most likely school is still in session, even if remotely, during this time. Your school-age child likely has online class sessions to attend and assignments to complete.
If your child is struggling with assignments or seems particularly interested in a subject, reach out to your child’s teacher for additional help or for more resources to explore. Your child’s teacher will be glad to help enhance your child’s educational growth.
Another way that you can keep your child busy is to find fun activities to do together. Find a fun art project, take a short walk through the neighborhood, or play a board game. There are plenty of activities to keep you and your child busy during the COVID-19 pandemic; find out what your child likes, and have some fun.
Humans are social creatures and crave connection with one another. When we are babies, we crave the social attention of our parents, both for love and safety. However, as we grow older, we begin to find new social connections with others and move away from the social dependency that we used to have on our parents.
You might hear your child talk about how much she misses their friends and how she misses playing with them. One way you can help her cope with the loss of face-to-face interaction is to set up virtual interactions. Sure, video calling her friends is not the same as spending physical time with them, but it allows your child to maintain that social attention she craves during this time of social distancing.
Take Time for Yourself
As much as you love your child, you did not expect to be thrown into a world where you have to work from home and have your child with you 24/7. You thought that when your child reached a certain age he would be at school and you would be at work for most of the day. You would then enjoy the time you had together after work and school.
However, life has changed, and you are now with your child most of the day if you are working from home (or no longer working, and just at home). You love your child, but when you are together all of the time, both of you might need a break from each other.
One solution is to come up with a list of activities or chores that your child can do by himself while you are working or attending to other chores. If your child is old enough, discuss boundaries with him and let him know that you need to work during a certain time frame.
If your child is old enough to understand these boundaries and that you cannot give him all of your attention all of the time he will be able to find something to do on his own. Just remember to make sure to set aside time to be together.
Be Honest with Your Child
We want our children to know that they are safe and that everything is going to get better soon. However, during this time, it is hard to predict what is going to happen. Every day seems to be different, and young children, who need stability, might be having a hard time coping during this time of unpredictability.
Although it may be hard, it is okay to let your children know that you don’t know what is going on and what is happening. Be honest with your children, and give them the information that you know and feel comfortable giving.
Even we, as adults, don’t know what is going to happen from day to day during the pandemic. We can follow the news coverage to get an idea of what is happening, but the recommendations and restrictions for our communities are being modified often.
It is important that we communicate this ongoing uncertainty to our children. Don’t make promises that things will go back to normal soon because we don’t know when things are going to get back to normal.
The worst thing that you can do during this time is promise things that are out of your control. Children will hold you to the promises you make and will remember when you break them. Being honest with your children is always the best policy, especially during this pandemic.
Need Help Getting Through the COVID-19 Pandemic with Your Children?
If you and your children are having a hard time getting through the days of staying home and being away from your normal routine, give us a call. Our counselors are still able to take appointments, and we are available to help you and your family get through this unusually stressful time.