Making a daily schedule, talking openly with your kids, and building play time and art into your daily routine are all ways to help your child, and you, cope during times of stress. Find tips below.
CREATE A DAILY SCHEDULE
Following a daily schedule gives kids a sense of control, predictability, and well-being. It also helps make sure kids get independent time and time to connect with friends virtually each day.
Here are some ideas about what to include:
- Set aside time for learning, creating, playing, and socializing.
- Schedule time for both independent and group activities. Family meetings will let you check in and talk through anything that might be stressful or worrisome to your child.
- Try to get outside everyday–it’s great for physical and mental health.
- Take small activity breaks to help stay focused. Try stretching or putting on music and dancing.
- Provide a way for tweens and teens to connect with friends virtually.
- Make art–it helps reduce stress and can give kids a way to express their fears.
- Let kids help with chores like cleaning, organizing a closet, or cooking. It’s a good time to learn new skills and work together.
- Regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an important way to keep kids happy and healthy, too.
- Be flexible! Even though schedules help kids feel in control, you can’t predict what will happen each day. So making time to review and adjust the schedule each morning is important.
- Have fun and practice self care!
6-8 year old
8:00 am Breakfast
8:30 am Get ready for school
9:00 am Check-in with school
9:15 am Reading/ Math/Writing assigned by teacher
10:00 am Snack
10:30 am Check-in with school
10:45 am Reading/ Math/Writing continued
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Write. Right. Rite. or Brain Yoga with Jason Reynolds
1:30 pm Zoom class assigned by school
2:15 pm Break (TV, iPad, or Go Noodle activity)
3:00 pm Physical activity outside or inside
4:00 pm Snack
4:15 pm iPad or TV
6:00 pm Dinner
6:45 pm Family games
MAKE PLAY AND LEARNING TOGETHER PART OF YOUR ROUTINE
Focus on the positive. Now you have more time time to spend together. Make learning fun with projects and activity suggestions you’ll find below.
- Make a family art project.
- Practice handwriting and grammar by writing letters to family members.
- Start a journal with your child to document this time and discuss the shared experience.
- Snuggle up and read an eBook, watch a movie, or listen to an audiobook as a family.
- If you have a little one, sign up for TALK to get activity suggestions sent to your phone twice a week.
TALK OPENLY ABOUT COVID AND CURRENT EVENTS
Knowing you are working to keep your kids safe and how they can help will help kids feel empowered. They might imagine the situation is worse than it is, so giving them correct, up-to-date information appropriate for their age is important. Here are two digital picture books to help, Coronavirus and My Hero is You.
- Explain social distancing. Tell your kids you are following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by staying away from others and wearing a face mask if you do go out until the risk of contracting COVID-19 is under control.
- Share simple facts. The disease spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or when someone touches infected objects. Washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds when they come in from outside, before they eat, and blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the bathroom helps keep everyone healthy. Kids seem to have milder symptoms.
- Listen to kids’ fears and respond with truth and reassurance. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more.
- Pay attention to what they see or hear on media. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
- Teach kids to use deep breathing to calm themselves and practice breathing exercises together. If you stay calm, it will help your child stay calm, too.
- Offer lots of love and affection.
- Watch for signs of stress such as disrupted sleep, stomach aches, canker sores, and leg pain. Here is some advice from experts to help.
- Give yourself a break. It’s ok to feel stress, anger, and sadness.
- Build networks of support for yourself and your kids. This is necessary now even more than ever due to social distancing.
- Get a group of friends to commit to each other’s well-being and include an online group communication space.
- Check in weekly on each other’s health and work together to tend to everyone’s needs.
- Be accountability buddies to make sure everyone is exercising, taking medication, eating, and engaging in other daily activities that demotivation impacts during stressful times.
- Stay physically active by taking daily walks.
- Seek mental health support if needed. Washtenaw County Community Mental Health has a free emergency line 734-554-3050 you can call 24/7.
- Explore mindfulness and meditation online or through kids’ books.
- CDC’s recommendations for caring for kids during Covid-19
- Talking to kids about Covid-19
- Talking to tweens and teens about Covid-19
- National Association of School Psychologists guide for talking with kids about Covid-19
- With kids spending so much time online, be sure to check out our guide to keeping kids safe online.
- Stay in touch with your child’s school.
- See learning ideas and free online resources for teachers and parents here.