Better Together: Family Life in a PandemicMay 29, 2020 ● By HopeSpoke
This article is featured in Lincoln Kids Magazine Summer 2020.
The last few months have proven to be challenging for families everywhere due to COVID-19. Do you find yourself struggling to keep your children entertained, calm, and productive in healthy ways? Parents and caregivers across the world are struggling with not letting feelings of stress and anxiety dictate how they interact and react to their children. You have probably heard your children say, “I’m bored!” “I want to see my friends!” and “Why can’t we go anywhere?” more times than you can count. Your children could also be experiencing anxiety, anger, outbursts, depression, frustration, and aggression. These are not uncommon reactions when children have significant disruptions in their daily routines.
Spending quality time connecting and playing with your children every day can be beneficial for you and your children. During this time, try to focus your time together on laughing, smiling, and having fun. Here are some suggested tips and activities that any parent or caregiver can practice to encourage positivity and togetherness in times like these.
- Get creative with art projects, made-up games, and even get the kids involved helping you with household chores. This is also a great time to teach your children a new skill they may be eager to learn, like baking, cooking, gardening, or other household projects. Many of these activities produce an end result, offering ongoing opportunities to connect over the project. These are memories that you and your children will have for years to come and could even spark a new family tradition.
- Look through old photos together. Talk about your heritage and where your family comes from. You could even create a time capsule to bury and uncover years later to remember things you did together as a family.
- Many activities and vacations are being canceled or postponed, so why not take a virtual vacation? Attractions across the globe have created virtual tours and slideshows. You could also plan a dream vacation that you and your family would like to take in the future. Use your imagination and come up with ways to take a backyard vacation!
Parenting in a pandemic adds new challenges to everyday life. Having consistency and developing routines can help create a new sense of normalcy. Discuss upcoming changes with your children to help minimize anxiety. Your kids may be struggling to follow directions, obey rules, and listen to you in general. Power struggles may be on the rise, and you might find yourself raising your voice more or even yelling at your children. Unfortunately, these actions often lead to more power struggles, as children typically respond negatively to yelling. To help eliminate power struggles, try offering your children choices such as “either/or” and “when/then.” If you feel your voice rising, take a moment to breathe and remember that your children are dealing with new changes and emotions, too.
Remember to also take care of yourself as a parent. Take a break. Breathe deeply. Find things to laugh at. Do something you enjoy.
Don’t forget that we all should have empathy for one another right now, as not everyone is experiencing these circumstances in the same way. Be patient with yourself and others as you navigate through the summer.