Create a routine and stick to it. Routine is good for everyone, especially kids. Create a schedule that works for you and the family and that provides some consistency for everyone in the household. Encourage older kids to participate in creating this new routine! It can be flexible, but at least have a basic framework that you can all stick to.
Move your bodies! Incorporate some form of physical exercise and movement daily, even if you’re in full lockdown at home. Play hopscotch or tag with younger kids, create a DIY obstacle course or make use of the many online resources that are now available. For example, a quick search on Youtube for ‘music and movement’ will yield some great videos to keep your kids active, or try an offering like that from Hy-Vee KidsFit who provide free daily sessions.
Stay connected. Many of us are privileged to have a wide array of technology at our fingertips that allows us to stay connected virtually with friends, family and co-workers. Schedule ‘dates’ with family and friends for yourself and your kids and ask Granny or Grandpa to read the kids a bedtime story over Skype.
Limit your consumption of news and social media. While it is important to stay informed, there is a great deal of misinformation and media hype around the COVID-19 virus that is not helpful. Be aware of what you read and watch and how it affects your anxiety levels. If you find your stress levels increasing, take a break! Don’t get pulled into the drama. Stay present with yourself and your family – this will greatly help your emotional equilibrium.
Monitor anxiety levels. Watch out for behavioural changes in your kids and any signs of anxiety. They will, of course, also be picking up on your anxiety, hence the importance of managing your own for a start. Be open with your kids and chat to them about how they’re feeling, at whatever level is appropriate for their age. Be sure to check in with them regularly.
One-on-one time. Even though everyone is at home all day, kids still crave that special time with Mom and Dad, so be sure to schedule specific times or activities with the kids that allows them that special time with you.
Keep kids informed. Share appropriately with your kids and explain the situation in a way that they can understand, but don’t alarm them. Be aware of adult conversations they may overhear and try to convey the same message to them. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, find a way to process that with your partner or friend so that it doesn’t need to spill over to the kids.
Keep it positive! Stay focused on the present moments and the silver linings – they are everywhere! Even if the broader context feels challenging and intimidating, practice the art of gratitude in every moment, and help your kids to do the same.
Online Resources to explore
The Khan Academy has a great app for kids which you can download to your devices. It offers curated and holistic content for young children and is a great way to keep the little ones engaged and learning.
Cosmic Kids Yoga is a great Youtube channel for kids of all ages and really makes yoga an immersive and exciting activity for kids – this is definitely active screen time!
Here are some more amazing resources to explore online, from arts & crafts, to physical activities and virtual museum tours.1
Virtual field trips
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with thousands of museums around the world to offer virtual tours from the comfort of your home. Here’s the complete list.
The San Diego Zoo offers 10 different webcams so animal lovers can keep up with a variety of their favourite creatures.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium also offers 10 different webcams for families to experience underwater life from anywhere.