There’s so much uncertainty in the news we’re receiving about what to expect from the spread of the Corona Virus. Except for the certainty it’ll get worse before it gets better.
It’s encouraging to see many parents focusing on helping their children develop a routine as close to what they’re used to as possible.
With the long list of shouldn’ts that seem to increase daily, it can be difficult to strike a balance between living and languishing.
They can still ride their bikes, play outside or explore nature, but at a distance from non family members.
Help them structure their plans with safety as the first goal. In fact, here’s a reimagining of the S.M.A.R.T. Goals strategy for this unique moment in history.
Safe – First and foremost children want to know they’re safe in the world. That’s what gives them the space to take risks, explore and discover. You don’t want their curiosity about the world around them to fade because of this virus.
Manage Anxiety – They may be showing increased anxiety or feeling it but don’t understand that’s what’s happening. Either way, it’s helpful if they have activity that allows them to raise their heart rate, expend some energy and even laugh as loud as they want to. Playground activities or exercise works well for this.
They’ll experience a release of dopamine and endorphins as they play. Natural anxiety reducers and exercise for the win.
Achievement – It helps if they feel they’ve achieved something through their activities. Riding the bike for 30 minutes, going up and down the stairs a certain number of times while helping with chores. Research shows that feeling like we’re making progress in life increases our sense of happiness. Help you child create goals that leave them feeling like they’re accomplished something.
Reach Out – Encourage them to reach out to you with their questions or concerns about the virus, their feelings about the changes their experiencing, or just to shoot the breeze. Keeping the line of communication open can help prevent them from bottling things up.
Touch – As hand washing is now the go to to prevent spreading the virus, touch has become dangerous. Yet, touch is essential to our feelings of safety and connection. Remind your kids its okay to hug you and each other. That touch can calm the nervous system quickly by releasing dopamine and Oxycontin.
So have a dance party where you all sing together (for better or worse).
Play at the park with your kids. Put your phone down and laugh with them.
Enjoy this extra time to simply be with each other.
This is a tough time for all of us. Let’s create some experiences we’ll look back upon with gratitude.