LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Experts at the University of Kentucky say it’s important to help children maintain normalcy during stressful times like during the coronavirus outbreaki.
They shared tips on how to help your children feel supported and occupied since they’re home from school and out of their routines.
Maintain a routine. Come up with a “new normal” for home, and stick to it as much as possible each day. This will help make kids feel safe, know what to expect and create structure. Remember to write the schedule down and post it where the child can see it. Recommendations for an at-home schedule for children can include:
- Wake-up and bedtimes
- Meal times
- Hygiene (brushing teeth, bathing, etc.)
- School/learning time
- Play time
- Chore time
- Quiet time (can include nap times, watching a movie, reading a book)
- Family time and at-home activities
For many parents and caregivers, this is a stressful time full of uncertainty. Did you know that kids can pick up on the anxiety of their parents and caregivers? Children are more likely to feel anxious when the adults in their lives have high anxiety. Find ways to de-stress yourself, and this will help you and your children feel less anxious. Here are some easy ways to lower your stress at home:
- Practice self-care.Take some deep breaths and find a few minutes each day to take care of yourself. You can use these few minutes to Do an activity that is relaxing for you – take a bath or shower, read a book, listen to music, or simply sit quietly.
- Manage information overload. Stay informed and follow recommended guidelines. Make sure you get information from reliable sources and screen what information your children are hearing. Be aware that information overload can add more stress during an already stressful time. Getting information from too many sources or from unreliable sources may not be helpful and can add more stress for all members of your family.
- Talk to children using language that they can understand. A good way to start a conversation is to ask your children what they already know and follow their lead. Be truthful, but remember to give appropriate amounts of detail based on your child’s age and readiness to learn about the virus. Remember to listen to your child’s concerns, validate feelings and focus on what the community is doing to keep people safe and healthy. Talking about routines that are staying the same can be also be helpful to help your child feel more in control.
- Give choices. This will help your child feel like they have some power and control during a stressful time.
- Have a positive attitude. remember to find something that is going good and focus on what your child is doing right rather than wrong.
- Take it one day at a time. Do something fun each day. Enjoy this time together as a family.