Sheltering At Home With Your Kids

Bull dog sleeping upside down , exhausted after sheltering at home with kids

Sheltering At Home With Your Kids

Or maybe sheltering at home from your kids? Kids are energetic and endearing. But sometimes you need a break from their energy, it can be a challenge. They can wear you out.  Even the family dog needs a rest. Thank goodness, the packaging is appealing. We love these kids. Here are some important things to consider while they are home.

Be Safe

Safety is the most important consideration. In our area, schools are doing all they can to stay in touch with children, make sure they get meals and that they and their families have access to help if needed. Children with high-risk factors have been identified and support is in place for them and for their family. In addition, educators are trying to keep their academic activities reasonable.

The Center for Disease Control has some good ideas about sheltering with kids.

Help Them Understand

Children will want to know what is going on and how you feel about it. According to their age and development, give them information but present it in a way that will not add to their fears. Let them know that you can answer questions and talk about their concerns. Let them know that everyone is working on understanding and helping the situation. Reassure them that all families are in the same situation. Here is a link to a helpful article 

Large group of children posing isolated in white

It is important to teach them how to protect themselves. This includes washing hands, staying home. Keeping in touch with family and friends is important and those who have access to the internet and social media can offer children contact with the important people in their lives virtually. Take them outside if you have a safe neighborhood but teach them about social distancing. Bring some wipes or a cloth that has disinfectant along with your outings. If going out is not an option, consider some stretching and walking in your house. Make a safe path, put on some music and walk with them or better yet, dance.

Covid-19 Has Me Paralyzed

So many of my clients are complaining that they feel paralyzed right now. They want to get things done but just can’t seem to get motivated. Part of this is that the virus environment is all-new for us.All of us are a little bewildered and stressed and so are our kids. It drives many of us right to the couch with a bag of chips. That is ok for a while, get your bearings, rest. But eventually, you might want to get a little structure going. Write one or two goals in your calendar or better yet, on a family calendar. If you don’t have one, it might be a fun project for you and your kids. Make only 1 month at a time and decorate the page with crayons, paint or pencils and add other crafty decorations.

Write It Down

Don’t overbook your calendar. Start by putting down an intended project, “Clean the toy shelf.”  Pick a specific time and schedule just a short period to begin, say 30 minutes depending on the age of your child. Then schedule follow-up over the next few days. If you write a project down, you are more likely to accomplish it. According to researcher Gail Mathews  you are 33% more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down.

Mix It Up

Everyone needs a quiet time.  Plan some time when everyone takes a break. With toddlers this could be nap time or reading. Let older kids read to their siblings and reward them for doing a great job. Praise or privileges are good motivators. If children are older, a short 30 minutes in their room where they can rest, play or read helps everyone stay calm. Don’t forget to touch base with your significant other/spouse. You need some connection during these times, too. See our post on Covid-19 and building resilience for couples at home.

Some of This Can Be Good

Remember that one of the key factors of resilience is a positive attitude.  While this is hard to conjure when there is uncertainty and isolation, we have to believe that we will prevail.  We have to look around us for the good. Some of the most powerful positives are simple or surprising.  The dolphins have returned to clear water in Venice, turtles are returning to beaches, there are clear skies in India.  Our pets are thrilled. We may never have so much time to consider what is important. Being with and nurturing our children tops that list.

Gratitude and Care

This is a good time to teach your children how important it is to be grateful and how important it is to help others. Look for small opportunities to model this for them.  Sew a mask together, then donate an extra one to a friend, relative, or someone in need of one.  Deliver some goods to the local food bank.  Help them see the simple things that they can be grateful for. Gratitude builds resilience. Let me know we are going to get through this time and once again, they will go back to school, see their friends, visit grandparents.