While it’s no doubt difficult for singletons and couples living through the coronavirus pandemic, spare a thought for those with families. Lives are suddenly upside-down—normal rules don’t apply, and the simple act of going outside to enjoy the sunshine is now potentially deadly. And it can be hard to get across the importance of this to children.
Here are some ways to get yourself and your family through the lockdown—practically, and emotionally.
Inactivity means boredom, and boredom means terrible moods. Try to make sure you’re all moving and keeping active. You can go outside for exercise as a household—take advantage of this, and plan walks to a different place every day. The trick is to keep it fresh and interesting. Depending you the age of your kids, you can keep them occupied with crafts. Probably not appropriate for teenagers—more on those later—but a paper aeroplane competition can get your kids working hard, and maybe learning something about physics, too. Tabletop and board games are perfect, too—the time to show off your dice-rolling prowess has come.
It’s a very strange world we live in right now, with the coronavirus situation virtually unprecedented. It’s very important to make sure your children understand the gravity of the situation, but also important to ensure you don’t frighten them. Let them know that this is a serious time, and the whole world is in the same state, but don’t let them think they’re in immediate danger. It’s likely that you yourself are anxious, and that’s fine. It’s natural to have certain worries right now. But you should get on top of these worries, to remain strong for those family members who need you. Limit your news and social media exposure, talk to your friends via video chat and stay busy yourself, to keep the anxiety down.
Plan the days
Kids tend to be used to routine, with school taking up the bulk of their time. And as you’ve probably noticed from half-term holidays, they get a bit antsy when that routine suddenly isn’t there. You should try to make sure there’s regularity to their days, to stop their minds wandering too much.
They’re likely accessing schoolwork online now, so work out a schedule with them. You know your own children best, and know whether they need this schedule to be solid, or to have a little flexibility. But ensure they have breaks, that they’re working toward well-defined goals and that they have access to the resources they need.
Organise your own work
Working from home with kids can be challenging at the best of times—and these are certainly not the best of times. You likely feel under a lot of pressure juggling work and home commitments.
Now is the time to talk to your employer about the possibility of flexible hours. If you’re all set up to work remotely, getting a little bit of that work done in the evening to free your afternoon hours for your family is a great idea. And it also means getting a little self-care time in, too—it’s vitally important to keep your own head above water, with mindfulness, meditation and some alone time.