In case you have been living under a rock, COVID-19 is a real thing. More deaths than the average flu. Towns are shut down. Travel shut down. School shut down. In just a few short weeks, the world has discovered the #introvertadvantage.
Fear is rampant. Families separated. Hospitals are overrun. Is there any other story in the media today?
Kids are home, out of routine, lonely and increasingly scared. Being a parent has taken on a new back-breaking load – how to keep your kids calm in the middle of this crazy storm.
Here are some tips on how to help your kids find peace and clarity in this colossal hurricane of COVID-19.
Keep a routine. Humans, by nature, thrive on routine. From getting up and ready to going to bed at night, we operate through a routine. Take out the most central part of a child’s day and you are set up for chaos. School is not just a place to learn about math, science, and literature. It is a place of friendship building, community development, and space. Space from parents and siblings (in some cases). So throughout this time, set a routine where school is apart of the day. Include some breaks from each other. Include some video telecalls to their friends and family. And remember, this too shall pass.
Find ways to help. The community is only as strong as its weakest link. There are many ways to help from home. Remember, nonprofits and churches still operate their community funds. They still need income to ensure the homeless have food, the low income can pay the electric bill (which just went up because people are home more), and safe places for an escape from the dangerous. If you already give, keep giving. If you don’t, I encourage you to start. Want to be more hands-on, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is providing training on how to help neighbors safely. Help the truck drivers with a meal (you are still getting deliveries, but their rest stops are closed). Even the smallest act of kindness goes a long way.
Have a sanctuary. Refuge and safety are more important today than ever. When people are crammed together, they have shorter tempers and we humans tend to get a bit crazy. A small space you can call your own, escape to in the chaos of the house, that is simply yours is valuable when there is not a pandemic. It is even more valuable now. Ensure some sanctuary and calming time is a part of your schedule. Outside on the back porch or inside a closet of the house…whatever works for you.
Get outside. Cabin Fever WILL set in and it is a REAL thing. In 1918, the Influenza pandemic swept through the world much like COVID-19. There were two ways to treat patients. Inside and outside. What a Boston, MA hospital discovered was a combination of fresh air, sunlight, scrupulous standards of hygiene, substantially reduced deaths among some patients and infections among medical staff. So go outside. Enjoy the sunshine. Remember that the sky is blue and the sun is bright and the breeze feels so good on your skin.
Be creative and productive. It is easy to think you are stuck within the cell that is now your home. But you are in a world equipped with so much to be entertained in – without turning on your TV. Plan an instrument? Play it. Have some paper laying around? Write. Legos? Build. Paint. Color. Draw. Or, for those social media addicts, get online and recite poetry, sing, dance, get goofy! We all need a little happier. Depression and loneliness are real things. These get even worse in isolation. So, enjoy being a goof for people to laugh at or sing a song for people to love. It might be the one thing that saves a life. If you are feeling suicidal or depressed, there is help. Call the National Suicide line 1-800-273-8255 for help.
Work Out. Chill Out. Stress is high and endorphins are low. Be sure you are fueling your body and your mind as we walk through this new “normal.” 30 minutes of cardio a day is great. This can be easily accomplished by a walk outside (no neighbors necessary), a run on a treadmill if you have one, or numerous free workouts on YouTube and Amazon Prime. Just search your favorite activity and you will be bombarded with choices from yoga to kickboxing and dance. For those of you on Wii – don’t forget about Wii Fit. There are so many options. Have fun with it. For a special challenge, join the 30 Day #5fitchallenge with #SOFLFit5 (Special Olympics Florida). IT is a great way to hold yourself and your special kiddo accountable to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Use this time to be productive. Whether that means working on those summer abs, catching up on that reading list, finishing those household projects, or whatever, remember, your kids will follow your lead. So, whatever you do, remember this too shall pass. We are more than conquerors. We are the light. Be the light. Be love. Choose joy.