How To Support Your Kids During COVID-19
Parenting is a tough job at the best of times when schools and stores are open, and children have actives to go to and playdates to participate in. But during a global pandemic, there is a whole new set of challenges facing parents.
Online school requires much more hands-on help from parents without teachers physically present to run their classrooms. Activities are canceled, and parks across the country have closed or are operating with limited hours. Being a parent during these difficult times is trying, especially when one or both parents are essential workers.
Older kids may be feeling uncertain and anxious and require extra support. At the same time, younger children may not understand what’s going on at all and feel misplaced frustration at the changes they’re experiencing. All parents are struggling with the same thing: figuring out how to support your kids during COVID-19.
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Talk to them about what’s going on.
Be open with your kids, and tell them what’s happening in the world. Sheltering them from a global crisis can’t do them much good. They’re bound to talk about it in schools now and going into the future. Having an open conversation with your children about the current state of the world and why they’re having school online is crucial so they will feel safe and secure with you and at home. Talking about uncertainty can help reduce anxiety.
Different age levels comprehend things differently, so take your child’s age into account before having the conversation. Give your children time to process, and let them know they can come to you with any questions they may have, but set a realistic expectation that you may not have all the answers yet, just like the rest of the world.
Keep them protected from the virus.
It’s best to keep your kids at home when you have to venture to the grocery store, but for many single parents, this isn’t an option. If you must take your kids into a public area where social distancing may be difficult, take precautions.
Older children should wear face masks just like you. Never put a face mask on a baby or young toddler because they are more at risk of suffocation. Take normal steps to protect your baby from illness by washing your hands and theirs often, reminding older children not to touch their faces, and watching them for signs of infection.
If you are an essential worker, such as a nurse that may be exposed to COVID-19, take extra precautions when coming home from work by showering and changing your clothing when you get home and limiting (as much as possible) your direct contact with your children.
Use your newfound at home time as family time.
One thing that the shelter in place orders are providing is extra time at home for most families. Use this time to bond with your children and have family nights. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend some uninterrupted family time together. Bonding as a family can help your kids feel supported and a little more normal during this confusing time. Maintaining a bit of normalcy can help them feel happier and more comfortable at home.
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