Youth Coping with COVID-19
The world is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, the world stopped before our Spring Break even began. Proms, graduations, awards ceremonies, youth fairs, and so many other social gatherings and events have been canceled. But now, all in person summer 4-H programs have been added to the list of cancellations. That’s right no Legislature, no 4-H University, and no traditional camping programs to name a few. We are in unprecedented times and no one knows when this pandemic is going to end.
Take a Moment
Our youth are experiencing great anxiety, stress, and even depression over all of the sudden changes and limitations that have been placed upon them as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They miss their friends, they miss their teachers, they miss their extra-curricular activities, and believe it or not, they miss their routine. Take time to talk to your kids about their feelings. Let them know that it is okay to cry or scream out their frustration. We all need to take time to grieve over the loss our everyday liberties that we take for granted. Luckily we live in a time, where we most of us can continue to work and complete school virtually.
The best way to move forward is to set a new routine and develop a new normal until COVID-19 can be treated or managed and life can return to what we know as normal. So what that does look like exactly? Get up at the same time Monday- Friday and block time off for certain activities. Don’t try to have your kids do all of their school work in one day. Keep them on a routine just as if they were in school. Give them electives or extra-curricular activities that they can do at home.
Examples of Electives and Extracurriculars
My son gets PE time the same days a week that he has them in school and he opts to spend that time skateboarding or swimming in his inflatable pool. He also has a bookshelf where he can pick out a new book to read on his library day. Also his baseball season was cut short, so afterschool he can spend as much time as he likes outside practicing baseball.
If you are working from home, now would be a great time to teach your kids life skills that we like to teach in 4-H such as cooking. Get in the kitchen and teach your kids that favorite family recipe or even start with something simple like how to make popcorn in the microwave or boil water without burning it. Consider scheduling time to do a Home Economics class, where you can teach your kids how to do laundry, iron, pay bills, write a check, and balance a check book. 4-H has a variety of curriculum that can be used to teach new skills and reinforce learned skill sets. You do not have to plan something for every hour of the day, breaks are important too, but the goal is to keep your kids engaged and on a routine of some sort.
4-H is Not Over
As I mentioned earlier, all in person 4-H events and activities are cancelled through the summer, but that doesn’t mean that your 4-H experience is over for the year. Highlands County 4-H continues to seek ways to engage our youth virtually. Yesterday, we held our first ever virtual County Events contest and it was a success. We are also posting activities that youth can do from the comfort of their home with supplies that most people have in their home. There is also an online Embryology project we have, that takes place via Facebook live. We are currently in the process of scheduling additional virtual opportunities such as online trivia, a cooking competition, and even a day camp. Please know that we understand the need for continued youth programs and we are doing everything in our power to be able to continue to serve you as best as we can.
Additional 4-H Resources