The pandemic has turned everyone’s lives upside down. Many children and adults rely on schedules, routines and clear expectations. They count on their teachers, care providers, their core group of friends and extra curricular activities to maintain the schedule they’re used to, and when that changes, behavior and coping skills are often challenged.
With vaccines rolling out and activities beginning to resume in a more normal fashion, we may not have long before things seem a bit more routine. But in the meantime, experts say there are some strategies that could make your time at home more comfortable and even fun.
Although routines have been thrown off a bit, some things can remain the same. Create a schedule at home that your child can count on: a specific time for meals, exercise, education and bedtime. Put something in place that your child can plan for and rely on for a sense of control and security.
We are all under stress, and that includes children. Instead of scolding your child when they throw tantrum, use this as an opportunity to support their feelings of frustration and anger. Let your child know that their feelings are normal. Then, come up with a plan to vent those frustrations in a safe and positive way.
Provide Tools for Calming
When creating a daily schedule, don’t forget to schedule quiet time to reduce sensory input and de-stress. Whether deep breathing, fidget toys, a daily walk outside or sitting down to read a book, assess what best brings calm and stress-free experiences for your loved one and be sure to plan for that on a regular basis.
Keep talking to grandparents, friends from school and other special people through phone and video chats. If possible, write letters to friends and wait for return letters in the mail. Continue working with teachers, therapists and other people that you rely on regularly.
Let it Go
You already know that things don’t always go as planned. When stress is high and things are different, plan for having no plan. If something isn’t working today, be ready to stop and play a game, do a cooking project together, tend to the garden or enjoy an afternoon movie with popcorn.