Children’s lives have been turned around and upside down like a lot of ours have been recently. How can we help them feel a sense of normalcy and safety? We are now having to stay home. They can no longer go to school, or friends’ houses, or the playground. This is tough on them and tough on us. I know my children loved going to school, loved their teachers, and loved hanging out with friends. They can no longer go to after school activities like soccer or dance. They’ve had to miss field trips and other fun activities. They have missed some big milestones like graduations and dances. They have big emotions about this and need our help to provide a sense of normalcy and security. They know about what is going on and what they know may scare them or worry them, or even confuse them. They may worry about grandparents or other people they know who are more likely to get sick.
One way we can help them is to find a new sense of normalcy and safety for them. This will also help you build even better relationships with your child.
Here are 15 ways to help children find some normalcy during difficult times:
- Educate children about what is going on. Knowledge is power. Teach in an educational age-appropriate way. Watching videos and reading books about what is going one is very helpful and can children understand better.
- Remind them things will get better and talk about people who you see helping others. There are always people trying to help others. So when you notice it talk about it. Talk about the person you saw at the store who helped pick up items someone dropped or any other positive things you see on Social Media and the news. Things will get better.
- Have a routine down. Since the kids are out of school and we are homeschooling right now, with their teachers’ help, it is important to have some sort of schedule. Does it have to be strict and intense? No, it can and should be flexible. Have a morning routine, school routine, and Bedtime routine. Kids do well if they have a general idea of what to expect. Even if you are having a difficult time when school is in session, it is still a good idea to have a schedule for when they get home. Then they know when dinner is and when to do homework and other activities.
- Plan fun activities for home. Some fun ideas would be to go camping in the backyard if the weather is nice, have a family movie night, game night, or have a dance party.
- Reach out and communicate with friends and family via phone, skype, letters, etc. Maybe have a set time each week to communicate with family who live farther away.
- Write in a journal, or draw pictures in a journal for younger kids, and have them describe how they are feeling and what they are thinking. Journals are so therapeutic. Imagine also your kids looking back at this time when they are older and being able to read exactly what they were thinking and feeling.
- Do a Mom and Me journal (or dad, grandparent, aunt, whoever). This is a different type of journal that can be so beneficial in being able to directly help by writing back to any questions or concerns your child may have. It is also a good way to see how they are feeling about everything and if they have had a good day not. It is a great way to build relationships.
- Do Service: Involve your kids in acts of service: We are stuck at home because of the virus and it is hard to think of ways to do service. Some ideas would be to write letters, help make face masks if your child is old enough, or drop off a gift card for food for someone who may need it. You can drop it off doorbell ditch style. Do service for each other at home. Use sidewalk chalk to cheer up neighbors. There are tons of ways to do service.
- Family project: If you had a family project or puzzle you wanted to get done, now is the time. Your child will feel your love and will have great memories of this fun time together. So, get out that family puzzle, or the dresser you have been meaning to paint and involve your kids.
- Research how others felt and what happened during other difficult times. Decide if this would be appropriate for your child’s age and if it would scare or worry them. If you think your probably older child can handle it, then they can learn so much from what others have gone through in similar times and how they dealt with it and how they felt.
- Ask your kids how they are feeling. Listen to any concerns they have and validate their feeling. They are important and real feeling. They need to process them and it takes time. It is important for your children to know that you are there for them and will listen to them
- Help them feel safe and loved. Tell your children you love them, spend time with them, play fun board games with them, and read books to them. Hug them and snuggle with them.
- Don’t broadcast news about it all the time around them, it might scare or worry them. It is good to be informed. That doesn’t mean we need to watch the news or talk about the issue every day, especially if it is causing anxiety or stress for children to hear about the difficult things happening all the time.
- Get outside. Play in the back yard, take family walks, just make sure to do social distancing. Sunshine and being outdoors is so good for our bodies and our moods. It will help us stay uplifted.
- Pray, meditate, enjoy some peace and quiet. Do whatever thing helps you to feel calm and will give you hope.
Children are resilient and with our help, they will feel safe and loved. Things will start to seem more normal to them and they will be less stressed and scared. As parents, we want what is best for our kids and we know them best. This makes us the perfect people to help them deal with our new reality during these uncertain times.
Comment and tell me what you have done to help your children deal with all the changes going around them right now.