Helping Parents & Children Cope with The Covid-19 Pandemic
By Stephen Walton
During this Covid-19 Pandemic, I have provided some ideas and resources that may help parents cope in some small way at the very least.
My Personal Message to Parents
I would first like to give my heartfelt condolences to all that have lost friends and family members to this horrendous Covid-19 pandemic.
I would also like to say that I have great respect and high regard for our First Responders, Doctors, Nurses, employees of Grocery Stores, Gas Stations, Pharmacies, Truck drivers, Politicians, Mail Carriers, Sanitation Collectors, and all people working tirelessly on our behalf to help keep us safe and preserve some form of normality.
Thank you deeply for what you are doing, we could not do it without you.
If we all love one another, respect and support each other, follow the
recommended guidelines by our health specialists and political leaders,
we will get through this;
We are Strong… We are Courageous… We are
Compassionate… We are Resilient, and... We will Persevere.
It is my wholehearted belief that when we come out on the other side of this, it will be a much better
world; we will be more caring, empathetic, and will express more respect, love,
kindness and compassion for one another.
Put Yourself in Your Child’s Shoes
It is difficult enough for adults to understand the breadth of this Covid-19 pandemic. As parents, we must put the needs of our children at the forefront. Our job is to protect them and provide them with the love, support, empathy and understanding they so desperately need.
A tremendous change has been thrust upon them in such a short time. School closings, sports and other competitive events have come to an abrupt halt. Concerts, dance lessons, music lessons, karate, gymnastics, social events like birthday parties and play dates, all terminated.
In addition they are forced to deal with the added stress of physical distancing, will they or another family member get sick, will things ever get back to normal. Take a moment to consider what thoughts may be going through their young minds.
Taking Away Your Child’s Worry & Anxiety
These changes are a tremendous loss and incomprehensible to your child. It is essential to be mindful and empathetic to their thoughts and feelings. Let them know it is normal and alright to be sad, disappointed and afraid.
This Covid-19 issue is a time of high anxiety for both you and your child. Children watch very closely looking for emotional cues from their parents. I cannot stress enough the importance of being a positive role model and not oversharing your own fears and anxiety. They are looking for reassurance that in time everything will be fine.
As parents it is our responsibility to shoulder the burden of anxiety and stress - not our children. Try to normalize their lives as best as you can, giving them lots of love, support, encouragement, and positive reinforcement while bonding your relationship with fun family activities.
Listen intently to their concerns and encourage them to ask questions and communicate their feelings. Reassure them that you are there for them and they will always be safe and protected with you.
The following articles will help in your communication with your child
Do not overload or bombard your child with schoolwork, remember this is an extremely challenging time for both parents and children. Integrate the work slowly.
Judy Arnall from the Alberta Home Schooling Association suggests in the video below parents need to relax, she explains how daily learning time in a smaller ratio of 1-5 students versus a class of 30 is shorter than one might think.
Home Schooling Guidlines (by the Alberta Homeschooling Association) Grade 1-6 Grade 7-9 Grade 10-12 30 min 1 hr. 2 hrs.
Watch this Short Video Below
Setting A Family Schedule
In order to minimize stress during this Covid-19 dilemma, it is important to maintain structure in the household.
Fit in some regular chores for your children to develop and maintain some responsibility.
Whether doing a home schooling program or structured virtual classroom through your school board, attempt to maintain a schedule as close to the pre- Covid-19 pandemic issue as possible. This will help in providing stability and ease the transition upon returning to school.
It is extremely important to allow regular breaks to minimize stress.
Try to schedule lunch time as regularly as possible where you can all sit down together. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk, keeping conversation light, relaxing and fun.
Fit in some time for exercise, yoga or practice mindfulness strategies. Whatever you generally do to keep healthy and keep stress levels to a minimum.
Fitting in Some Downtime
Be mindful not to over schedule your children’s day.
It is extremely important when their scheduled schoolwork is complete to allow them free time to converse with their friends on social media or whatever means they generally use.
Allow your children to just be themselves with some free time to think, read, write, listen to music, color, do some crafts, whatever they choose to do to relax, release, unwind and enjoy their own time. This is extremely important at this critical time.
Quality Family Time
This is a wonderful time to create deeper bonds within your family. Love, kindness, empathy, understanding and respect for one another are just a few of the wonderful virtues to focus on during these uncertain times.
Use this opportunity to play board games, video games, cards or watch your favourite movie.
Sit down as a family and utilize the various forms of technology (e.g. Skype, facetime, Zoom) to keep in touch with family and friends. It is very important for all family members to keep ongoing communication, keeping it fun and light!
Get outside when and wherever possible, as long as you follow the guidelines and suggested social distancing for your particular area. The fresh air and contact with nature is one cure for combating isolation.
Some Excellent Resources
Scholastic Learn at Home:(Free Resources for School Closures)