Tips for Managing Kids – and Life – During School Closures and Coronavirus Uncertainties
By Daniel H Moss, Attorney
We are living in uncertain times, which can cause a great deal of stress on parents and children alike. While it might seem like a never-ending snow day to the kids, having little interaction with extended family, friends and classmates can feel very isolating.
As a parent, you are no doubt trying to manage an entirely new and unexpected schedule for your children and yourself, all while trying to adjust to the cancellations of activities, potentially maintaining your job or business from home, concerns over the current health crisis, and more.
We’ve all seen and heard the tips for trying to remain healthy and reduce the spread of the coronavirus, so my tips below are focused on helping you manage the family side of things.
Create a Schedule for the Kids
This might seem easier than it is. Without the structure of school or the ability to fully interact with others, it can be difficult for kids to stick to a schedule. It can also be difficult for parents, who now find themselves juggling even more responsibilities than usual, to create and enforce a schedule.
My suggestion is to start simple. Map out the necessary activities for each day like meals and snacks, then work in the necessities like reading and study time. Make sure you leave some break times and free time where kids can play and get outside when the weather allows.
Schedule Your Time
If you are now working from home, set up your workspace and create a schedule. This will not only help you focus on your work when needed, but it will allow you to focus on your family when time allows also. Try not to let yourself get stuck being cooped up day after day.
In the absence of school, extracurricular activities and family gatherings, it’s important to still maintain some forms of social interaction. It might be time to dust off some of those old games and puzzles or get outside with your family and enjoy nature. With any luck, you can take advantage of the current situation by spending valuable time with your kids.
Many of us are keeping our distance from older relatives and those whose immune systems may be compromised. This does not mean that we can’t virtually visit them, however. You can video chat or even just pick up the phone.
For all of its potential faults, social media can be a helpful resource during this time. Your kids’ schools might have a parent/teacher page that can provide updates and much-needed support. Your neighborhood might also have a group that you can join to stay on top of local updates and communicate with neighbors. You can also text your family and friends or email coworkers to keep in touch. Having social interaction and staying in contact with people is important to keep you from feeling isolated.
This age of uncertainty is stressful for all of us. Your kids may have many questions about the current situation, so be sure you’re answering their questions and advising them in an age-appropriate manner.
It can be overwhelming to try to juggle your work, home schooling, play time and everything else in your schedule. While I do recommend having a schedule, I also recommend being flexible and realizing when you need to break up the routine. Being too strict with your schedule can cause undue stress for your entire family.
I hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this time.