In part one, we looked at how we as adults, can help our children weather this Covid-19 season of life. We started with making sure that we did not fill ourselves with fear, but chose to be informed with factual information; which can guide us towards wisdom and sound decision making.
This is an unprecedented moment in living memory, but we can help our children feel safe and secure when we ourselves don’t allow fear to control our thoughts, our feelings or our actions. Here are a couple of other tools to put into your Pandemic Toolbox.
2. Maintain Routine
We tend to do one of two things when we are uncertain. We either let all routines and systems slide or we try to enact a stricter sense of order within our routine. Try to avoid both. If your child was meant to be on spring break, then let them be on spring break. You may not be able to go away on a vacation, visit friends and family or even go sightseeing, but you can take a break from the academic demands as you would have done in our pre-pandemic world.
Maintain your family routines. This is something that is within your control. When you wake up in the morning, do what you have always done (i.e. shower, get dressed, brush your teeth, comb your hair) and possibly even treat yourself to those less common daily rituals (i.e. wear cologne/perfume, do nail care, do a skin treatment). In other words, care for yourself more; not less.
Keep your meal times regular with nutritious snack options and fluids (i.e. water) in between. Maintain your regular chores and the new ones that have become a recent necessity. When it comes to disinfecting, the list may be long but we can put on some good music or whistle while we work
- Door handles/knobs and door bell
- Light switches
- Appliance handles (i.e. fridge, oven, microwave, toaster, toaster oven, dishwasher, vacuum, washer, dryer)
- Toilet levers
- Dresser drawers
- Cleaning supply bottles
- Vehicle (i.e. steering wheel, door handles, window switches, radio knobs, seat adjustment levers, keys)
- Cell phones and their cases
- Purses and wallets
- Technology (i.e. phones and their cases, TV, DVD, PVR, remotes, computer keys and screens)
Try to maintain regular schedules in relation to bedtime rituals and most importantly, stay socially connected with your loved ones by honoring your family traditions as much as possible. You won’t be able to keep everything the same, but keep as much the same as you possibly can to maintain a sense of security and predictability.
3. Be Flexible
Yes, that does seem contradictory to the previous point, but flexibility is important. You may not be able to do everything the way you would normally have done, so allow yourself some flexibility in your expectations and routines. Practicing flexibility will help you maintain a sense of calm and will model to your children that they can do the same.
If you children are older (i.e. teens or preteens), you may want to negotiate more access to technology, but not unlimited access. Keep technology ‘social’! For example, allow teens to access face-to-face communication with friends. It will help them stay connected; which can mitigate anxiety and cabin fever. Play games together, especially those that require cooperation and creativity, may help friendship bonding. The ability to communicate in real-time while doing their everyday activities may help teens feel less isolated and more secure.
You know your child best and know whether or not giving them more time online with friends will help or not. If you’re not sure, you can negotiate a temporary increase to see how they react. Be clear about your expectations before agreeing to an increase. Unlimited access to the internet and technology, however, is not wise.
While you’re at it, make sure that you are also staying connected to friends and family. For many of us, chatting on the phone was something we enjoyed as teenagers. Right now, we have the perfect opportunity to slow down and spend time talking with loved ones over the phone. Use of the phone has become a lost art for our IGEN kids! Modeling phone etiquette and conversational skills is a great way to support your child’s social communication AND it allows you to stay calm and connected in the process.
In part three we’ll explore five more tools to help you and your child(ren) through the pandemic and this season of social distancing.
Intentionality drives purpose. As we are intentional in our day-to-day living, we will model for our children that we can make it through the tough seasons of our lives by doing what is needed in the moment!