Is your family struggling with Coronavirus uncertainties that are causing high levels of stress? Are your kids at home due to mandatory school closures? To reduce stress levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to start by listening and being empathetic towards each other’s needs. According to the Center for Disease Control, “children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 pandemic calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.”
Create a Healthy Home Environment
These are unique times where all families are having to adapt to a new way of living. This includes social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. However, there is no need to despair. Here are some inexpensive creative ideas to help create and maintain a healthy home environment:
- Plan ahead with your family. Listen to public health officials and focus on things we can control. Start by having a conversation with your loved ones. Discuss updates, preventative actions and an emergency care plan for older adults and children.
- Use the telephone, email, text messaging and social media to connect with friends, family and others.
- Talk “face to face” with friends and loved ones using Skype or FaceTime.
- In times of uncertainty, joy, amusement, and mental stimulation are necessary for everyone’s overall well-being. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting, so take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Instead, dance, sing, make crafts, cook and/or spend time in nature, if possible.
While it’s completely understandable to be worried, consider channeling that anxious energy into doing what you can to stop the spread. In addition, be productive while working from home, but also consider doing something engaging for your loved ones by creating Educational Centers. Centers can create a balance of fun and education without overloading on too much TV or screen time. Pick several small spaces in your home, equip them with a table and chairs, bean bag or rocking chair and your chosen activity. Allow your child or loved ones to rotate from one Center to the other. Remember to be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Reading Center – all you need is a basket full of your favorite books and magazines, a bean bag or rocking chair. Sit and share a book with your child on coping with a disaster. Check out the Wrigley Books for ideas.
- Painting Center – organize this area with plenty of paint and brushes to create your own works of art.
- Board Games Center – set this area up with games like Uno, Monopoly, Battleship and Tic Tac Toe.
- Math and Money Center – create a center focused on math and money management skills. Try this activity book! It has money basics crossword puzzles, coloring pages and how to create your own piggy bank.
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