In times like these, young children look at the behaviour and words that parents use. If you’re anxious, it’s likely that your child is picking up on it and getting worked up as well. Making it a point to speak to your children and communicating what is going on in as simple a manner as possible, and reassuring them that as long as they’re together and inside, they are safe can help a great deal.
Help your child to create and adhere to a daily schedule. It will help the child exercise some form of control in this time, and will also help you take off some of the pressure around the planning for the day. It also allows the child to undertake the responsibility to entertain themselves for a large portion of the day.
We’ve got to be quite careful to keep them inspired and interested – and prepare them for returning to school. Don’t make it such that the child may not want to go back to school, because being at home is quite comforting.
It’s really important for the children to communicate with their friends. Parents can set up Zoom talks with their children’s friends. Not every day, but during the week, there should be some way they’re connected with somebody else that’s not you, and not another adult.
Taking care of yourself is a critical part of taking care of your children. Practice self care, where you schedule a few hours in the day where you have time to yourself, and the child(ren) finds ways to keep themselves busy.
Be as honest as you can when your child asks you about the pandemic, and when they can go out. Answer in a simple, easy to understand manner, but tell them the truth as much as possible. Reassure them about the things that are in your and their control and help them decide what choices they want to make. This will not only increase comfort and openness between you and your child but will also equip the child to reason with themselves whenever they are in uncertain situations.
Establish some concrete rules, which are mutually agreed upon in advance, and have them written down and visible, so that navigating conflicts or disagreements during this time can become less stressful.
You can bring the outside in, by creating hopscotch patterns using coloured tape on the floor, or chalk. You can also create an indoor obstacle course for them on the weekends using pillows, yarn, tape, their toys, anything and everything. Makeshift costumes out of utensils and scraps to role play medieval times, or giving them a challenge to come up with a play for the family can be ways to keep your children busy in creative pursuits.
Use this time to get creative and innovative with your kids. Your biggest source of inspiration and guide for this are your kids, listen to them – they know what they need!