Current events are creating stress for many families. The fear and anxiety of waiting and not knowing how long this may last can be overwhelming and cause many emotions in both adults and children. Here are ten things you can do to support yourself and your family during these crazy times:
- Routine: Create a routine for your family that resembles your old routine as much as possible, but with modifications to embrace the changes that are taking place such as learning at home, working from home, canceled activities and sports, and limited travel.
- Exercise: Stay active by incorporating physical activity into your schedule for at least 30 minutes every day. It’s important for children to play, get the heart pumping and release energy. For parents, aside from the obvious health benefits, it’s a great way to clear your mind as well.
- Sleep: Not enough sleep has been linked to higher levels of stress, higher blood pressure levels, and lower brain function. It’s important for both kids and parents to unwind before getting into bed, which will allow for better rest.
- Take it Slow: If you’re sensing anxiety in your children or yourself, stop and take a few deep breaths. It can even be a fun game to play with the kids a few times a day. Stop, everyone takes 3 deep breaths (in and out), reach to the sky then stretch to the ground and repeat 3 times.
- Healthy Eating: This is not the time to binge on snacks, sweets, and processed foods. Now more than ever, eating from each of the 5 food groups and getting the proper balance of nutrients is important to keeping the body healthy and the immune system strong.
- Stay Connected: Social distancing doesn’t mean complete isolation. We live in a world where technology allows us to stay connected at all times. Make sure you schedule times for your children to digitally connect with friends, whether phone calls, texting, facetime, or group video chats. And the same goes for parents — reach out to friends and family and connect with others at least once a day.
- Play: Have fun and be creative as a family. A few ideas that everyone can participate in our arts and craft projects, puppet shows or dress up, play a board game, do a puzzle, or simply listen to music and dance.
- Read: This is a great time to read a book. The news can be daunting at times like these and turning it off completely to read a book is a great way to reduce stress. Schedule a few times a week or even days where the whole family reads and escapes from the digital world.
- Schedule Yourself: Parents need to be sure they are taking care of themselves during these unprecedented times. Don’t feel guilty by scheduling some alone time to focus on yourself whether it’s going for a walk or run, taking a long bath, meditating, doing yoga, working out or simply asking for a little quiet time.
- Talk: Take time to talk with your child about COVID-19 in a way they understand. Most likely they are hearing the news or seeing posts on social and they probably have questions. Reassure your family that the steps you take are to keep them safe.
At Children’s Medical Center, we understand this may be a stressful time and it’s important to monitor you and your child’s physical and mental health. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call us. We are open and we are here to help you through this confusing time.