​How to Stay Sane (with Kids!) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: one tough job

As we all adjust to the new reality of school cancelations, closings, and forced time indoors, we know stress levels are on the rise. And, even though we know you are all hugging your little ones a little closer right now, the day-to-day pressures of keeping it all together and the kids occupied are real. Here are some ways to keep your children busy and to cope during this challenging time.

Start with their regular school schedule. While children are still used to their normal routines, try to stay as close to their regular schedule as you can. With so much uncertainty and change in a short amount of time, anything we can do to keep a little “normal” in your child’s life will help them cope. Here are some things to think about:

  1. What time do your kids usually eat breakfasts, lunch, and snacks? How about recess?
  2. Break down the day into shorter times e.g., one hour for chores, thirty minutes for reading, etc.
  3. Is your child more able to focus in the morning or in the afternoon? Choose the time they are most likely to focus to tackle their homework.

Simple and easy indoor activities are best. Here are some ideas from our blog:

Schedule outdoor time. Even though playdates are not advised right now, if your family has a safe place to play - a backyard, in front of your house, or in your neighborhood - make sure to schedule some outdoor time. Taking the dog for a walk, a short hike around the neighborhood, or playing an outdoor game, will help the kids burn off some energy.

Bend the rules a bit. Give yourself permission to temporarily relax your restrictions on media, such as television and video games. Your sanity is worth more than worrying about thirty extra minutes of screen time.

Check-in with yourself. Finding time for self-care was difficult before adding in all of the extra tasks, worries, and to-dos. As the first days of this Pandemic extend to weeks, it’s more important than ever to find time for your mental health and well being. Ask yourself:

  1. Are you getting enough sleep? For most people, this is seven to eight hours a night as uninterrupted as possible.
  2. Who can you turn to when you are overwhelmed? Add these people to your favorites on your phone or write it down and post it on your fridge.
  3. Can you carve out thirty minutes a day for yourself? Even 15 minutes with no social media, no news, and just quiet will help you reset.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to call the Parental Stress Hotline: 24 Hours, 7 Days at (800) 632-8188. They can provide support and referrals for parents with children of any age, as well as for other family members, caregivers, friends, and relatives.

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