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Keeping the Kids Calm During COVID

Keeping the Kids Calm During COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has made waves in society. What’s it doing to the youngest members? If your kids are feeling anxious or nervous during this time, they’re not alone. Here are my best tips on keeping kids calm during all of this uncertainty. 

There’s been a lot of times during parenting that it would have been nice to have a manual. But now? During a pandemic? I’d love one even more. 

There’s been a lot of times during parenting that it would have been nice to have a manual. But now? During a pandemic? I’d love one even more. 

 

No one taught me how to live in a pandemic – let alone how to raise a child in a pandemic. And yet, I have two who are looking to me for guidance and help. Well, like all parents, I’m doing the best that I can. This is what I’ve learned. 


1. Be real with your children 

We love our kids and want to protect them. Unfortunately, this often means we want to sugarcoat everything terrible that’s happening, and that just isn’t realistic when so much of the world changes daily. Know that your child is looking to you for physical and emotional safety, and it’s okay to address the issues head-on with them in an age-appropriate manner. 

 

  • Talk to your kids about the scary news they may hear 
  • Answer any questions they may have as simply and honestly as possible 
  • Validate their feelings (it’s okay if they’re upset – isn’t everyone?!) 
  • Keep in touch with friends and family so they don’t feel so far away 

 

My kids have seemed more and more anxious during this time. I did my best to talk with them about what was happening and why it was happening, so they didn’t have this rush of information all at once. They know there’s a virus, which is why they can’t have friends over or go to school. They know it’s why we wear masks to protect others and ourselves. They know it’s a scary and uncertain time, and it’s okay to be upset with what’s happening.


2. Maintain your routines (as much as possible)

Did anyone else’s routine fail last spring without school? I’m not sure why it was so difficult to give my kids structure, but establishing a real schedule felt like pulling teeth. Yet, with all the uncertainty, this is the time when kids really crave knowing what to expect. Even if you’re tempted to ease up on the scheduling, follow a general order. It can help institute some regularity, and trust me, we all need a little of that. Here’s what we try to do at my house (although, some days are better than others). 

 

  • Wake-up routine: Get dressed, breakfast, brush teeth 
  • Play-time: Active play to get the energy out and then quiet play to help transition into schoolwork 
  • School time: This will obviously depend on your specific schooling situation 
  • Afternoon routine: Lunch, socialization, homework 
  • Dinner & family time: This changes depending on the day
  • Bedtime: The normal bedtime routine with the understanding that stressful times can make it more difficult for children to sleep 


3. Try to be positive at home 

During stressful times, kids can often become more difficult to discipline. If you’re noticing behavioral issues in your children, you’re not alone. Because kids don’t have the words to describe their feelings, they may express it through poor behavior. 

 

If you’re finding frustrating patterns emerging, then do your best to exhibit positivity and calmness through your own actions at home. You may choose to reinforce good behaviors through rewards and privileges. You may opt to not respond when you know the bad behavior is just to get a reaction out of you. Or you may decide that your child could use a different outlet like creative play as a way to keep this negative behavior at bay. Whatever you do, try to remain positive at home despite the stress that is also weighing on you. 

 

Final thoughts

The pandemic is difficult for everyone – even your kids! These tips can help you keep them calm and remind them that you’re still here to help give them structure and guidance during difficult times. 

No one taught me how to live in a pandemic – let alone how to raise a child in a pandemic.

 

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