What do I do with the kids?
Right now, your job is to stay calm, and ease your child’s worries
Most of us at Pathstone are parents, just like you and understand how challenging this time can be with not only school being out for longer than anticipated but also dealing with easing our children’s fears of what is occurring globally as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
First and foremost it is important that we as adults’ role model effectively how to deal with what is occurring around us. Our children look to us as examples and this pandemic can be a strong demonstration of how we came together as a society to support one another and made decisions that were in the best interests of all.
Our Agency has already posted ways in which you can talk to your children about COVID-19 / Coronavirus
While a State of Emergency for Ontario sounds scary, explain to your children that these are measures to protect us. Teach them what social distancing means (1-2 metres apart) and why it’s important.
Talking about why their March break camp has been cancelled, large gathering spaces have closed, and why their favorite restaurant wants you to take your meal home, instead of dining in will help them better understand how they can do their part to keep our community as safe and as healthy as possible.
Ask your child questions like,
- What have you heard about the virus?
- Is there anything that you are worried about (future)?
This is your opportunity to hear their concerns and correct any misinformation.
Limiting how much they see about the outbreak on TV or devices is also a good idea.
As their guardian it is your job to ease their worries and assure them that we must stay calm and practice kindness.
Mr. Rogers always taught us to “look for the helpers.”
Be sure to thank cashiers who are continuing to work at our local grocery stores. Check on an elderly neighbour and even offer to pick up some essentials if they need them.
Simple acts of kindness go a long way of maintaining calm during the storm and we must remain calm.
There is always light in the darkness no matter how difficult it seems in the moment. Instead of looking at things we can’t do because of the outbreak, look at the things you can do, because there is some extra time.
Go for a hike, take the dog for a walk, play games, go jump on the trampoline!
Embrace the opportunity over the next few weeks to share some time with the people you love the most and get to know them a little better. Reconnect with your teens who often don’t want to talk. They may desire engagement from you.
Do you know what your Love Language is? How about the kids?
Take the quiz and have fun expressing love and kindness in someone else’s Language.
There is a free quiz for singles, couples, kids and teens!
And for a final dose of fun, over the next few weeks, why not try and check off all of the activities we have listed below!
- Play board games / card games, like Go Fish, Memory, Crazy 8’s
- Charades & Pictionary are fun “family team” ones too
- Read books or tell stories
- Have a dance off, Karaoke party or comedy night!
- Colour, draw, paint all are very therapeutic
- Journal daily, and as a family you share what you wrote if you would like to
- Baking/ cooking together is fun. Follow a recipe or make up one!
- Cell phone free dining makes for great family and one-on-one time
- PLAY with your kids
- Build with Legos
- Create with Play-Doh, or make some homemade slime.
- Clean out junk drawers and do some other Spring cleaning around the house
- Sort through photos, prints or digital and make a family scrapbook
- Outdoor time is essential, 90-minutes a day would be extraordinary
- Shoot some hoops, jump on the trampoline, ride bikes or take a walk
- Sidewalk chalk the driveway
- Go for a hike in the woods. Niagara offers a lot trails.
- Get creative – Arts & Crafts. Make homemade cards, bracelets even macaroni or string art
- Watch a movie
- Don’t forget to take the dog out!
- Smile, laugh and enjoy each other’s time
Recommendations from Pathstone Mental Health:
How to keep your family balanced and connected at home through the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Do your best to provide consistency and structure. Get dressed every day and maintain adequate sleep and bedtime routines too!
- Make a daily schedule. Ideally you should involve your kids in the development of their schedule
- Find a balance of learning, creative and physical activities
- Permit your kids to have social connectedness time with peers through Apps and Social Media (continue to monitor sites & conversations your kids are having)
- Have connected family time
- Come up with projects to work on together
Although we can’t always control what happens to us as human beings we do get to choose how we react and think about what happens.
As parents and therapists, we at Pathstone see this as an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with our kids and that is great for everyone’s mental health.
Wishing you wellness,
The team at Pathstone Mental Health/ Pathstone Foundation