Humans can adapt to just about anything. It may be rough, and it may be uncomfortable. But adapting and changing is part of life.
Everything in 2020 has shown us that this is true, especially when it comes to COVID-19 and the necessity of practicing social distancing. While many of us aren’t thrilled to have to distance ourselves from friends and family members, as adults, we can adjust. But those of us that are parents are having to tackle this not only for ourselves, but for our children. They don’t understand what is going on and it’s our job to help clear up the confusion about the sudden changes surrounding them.
At this point, most of us have been practicing social distancing or making sure to quarantine for about six or seven months. That’s a long time to stay away from friends and family! So, what can us parents do to help our kids with what they’re going through?
Let Them Know It’s Okay To Feel
First, let them know that it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. Ask if they want to talk about it and listen to what they have to say. Let them know that what they might be feeling is totally fine, and they’re not alone in those feelings. You can also let them know how this has affected you, if you think it will help them to understand how this has affected everyone.
Set A Routine And Stick To It
You may have learned or figured out that it’s a great idea to set a routine for your kids and stick to it. This includes bedtime, meals, etc. This will help the kiddos to have structure amidst the chaos of our world, and it will also give you structure in your day as far as meal planning, naps (if your kids still take naps), homework and other tasks.
Make Time For Safe Socilization
At this stage in social distancing and possible quarantining, you may or may not be allowing your kids to see their friends in person. This is completely up to each parent and every family to decide what’s best for themselves and their kids. If you prefer to keep your kids at home and away from others, you’ve probably allowed them to visit their friends by either phone calls, FaceTime, Google Meets, or other video conferencing apps.
It’s probably safe to assume that, at first, your kids probably didn’t understand why they couldn’t see their friends or go many places. How did you explain to them what was going on? Psychologists suggest explaining the basics, but not bombarding them with details about the pandemic. It could be overwhelming for them, or they might have a harder time understanding what’s going on.
Be Patient And Understanding As It’s Not Always Easy To Explain
As a parent of a toddler, I had to find a way to explain to my son why we weren’t going anywhere while we were staying home in quarantine. He’s a toddler and he didn’t understand why we weren’t going to any stores, and why he wasn’t able to go to my parents’ house. I explained to him that many people were getting sick and we had to stay home to stay healthy. I had to tweak this explanation a little bit each time he’d ask, but eventually, he stopped asking and he understood this was the new normal.
What did you do to entertain your kids at first to keep them preoccupied while you worked from home? Were they glued to their iPads, tablets, phones or the TV? If you want or need to get your kids away from the boob tube or their favorite handheld device, some alternatives for the kids could be daily exercise, a craft project, or letting the kids pick what they want to do for fun that day.
It’s Okay To Feel What You’re Feeling
Have you tried all of this and you’re still pulling out your hair and losing your mind? Remember…it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, just like it’s okay for your kids. It’s okay to be stressed, tired and simply at your wits end. Give yourself a break and try to remember that you’re doing the best you can in a circumstance that took the entire world by surprise.
All of us are doing what we can to get through this crazy time, while hoping that life will go back to normal. Hang in there, fellow parents. We can do it one day at a time and with each other’s support.