Coronavirus changed the way we spent the spring season and the end of the school year. Many schools switched to online learning, spring break plans were canceled, and life in general for most Americans changed. As the spring turns to summer, many parents are worried about continued restrictions and keeping their children occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find Activities for Spending Time Outdoors
Many typical outdoor summer activities like swimming at the public pool, summer camps, and vacations away from home will not be possible this summer. However, the nice weather, bright sun, and longer days of the summer are necessary for your and your children’s physical and mental health. You will need to find other activities to get your children and yourself outside.
Most older children will be able to find ways to play independently outdoors. However, if you have younger children who need guidance in finding activities, you will need to brainstorm ways to keep them entertained. Make sure you include them in this process, as they are likely to come up with ideas you may overlook. And they will be more likely to take part in activities that they come up with themselves.
Ideas to keep in mind during your brainstorming session are taking walks, splashing in a wading pool, running through a sprinkler, drawing with chalk, jumping rope, playing catch, or gardening. There are a lot of activities that you and your children can do together outside during the summer. Make it a priority to spend time outside with your children this summer.
Keep Your Children Occupied with Indoor Activities
Unfortunately, the weather is not going to cooperate every day. There will be days this summer when you will need to find indoor activities to keep your children occupied. Board games, art projects, or baking cookies are fun ways to spend time with your children inside.
In addition (and luckily for you), teachers who had to migrate their classrooms to distance learning for the end of the school year also thought ahead to summer. Many are planning to send home educational activities that will help children retain their skills and also keep them busy during those bad weather days. Take advantage of those opportunities to give your child something to do during the day, while also keeping up with their education.
If you are working from home, you will need to come up with activities that your children can do without your participation. Reading (or looking through picture books for pre-readers), coloring, building blocks, and role-playing toys are all good and relatively quiet ways for children to keep themselves occupied while you are working. You could even get creative and develop a scavenger hunt as a fun way to get them to clean up their bedrooms or other rooms of the house where they have left their belongings.
You could also carve out time when you can watch a movie or play video games together as a family. Perhaps this time can follow a weekly dinner that you pick up or have delivered from a favorite local restaurant. Or you could prepare the meal together as a family. You might even want to continue this routine when public health officials determine that it is safe for school and normal life to resume.
Take Care of Yourself This Summer
As much as you love them and want to make sure your children are occupied during the summer you also need to take care of yourself. It is important that you develop habits that will maintain or reduce your stress level during this summer and beyond.
Take time for yourself to sit outside, journal, or go for a walk. Each of these activities will allow you to reflect, focus, and plan your day, week, and beyond. In doing so, you will be able to clear your head of the chaos that life throws at you.
Maintaining a clear head will help you manage your stress and will make both your life and your children’s summer more enjoyable. Nobody wants a cranky parent when they are trying to cope with the coronavirus limitations.
It might seem like a chore to take time for yourself during this summer while everyone is still home and continuing to practice social distancing. However, when you commit to taking time for yourself, it will become a habit.
Eventually it will no longer feel like a chore but more like a mini vacation. And who doesn’t like a vacation? Even if it is just a walk around the block.
Need Additional Advice for Keeping Your Children Occupied this Summer?
If you are worried about finding activities that will comply with the coronavirus limitations and keep your children occupied this summer, while also maintaining your mental health, give us a call. Our therapists are still here for you.
Whether you would like to get a few suggestions from one of our youth counselors or you simply need someone to help you cope with life during the novel coronavirus, give us a call. Keri Powell Therapy is committed to improving the mental health and well-being of our communities.