Surviving the Stay at Home order… with Kids!
Isolating yourself from your friends and family for weeks on end can have some serious mental health ramifications. No matter the age, boredom, and crankiness can be tough to beat when you’re stuck at home for days (or weeks) on end. Here are a few tips for parents who find themselves struggling to enjoy this extra family time.
Re-connect family members.
Take 15 minutes for each child (or spouse) per day and allow them to pick a fun activity to do together. You have more time together anyway so you might as well use it for something good. During this time, no criticism or touchy topics allowed.
Teach them life skills.
No, not just math or reading, although those are great things as well. Teach them to garden, put laundry in the machine, fold clothes, wash dishes, take out the trash, pick out toys to give to other kids in need, work on a car or wash their bikes. If you have a teenager, teach them to balance a checkbook. There are so many things a child needs to learn right in your home that they don’t teach at school.
Pick a behavior to work on.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to work on with your child? Perhaps you want them to put their clothes in the hamper or maybe you want them to avoid taking out their anger on their sibling when they get mad. Pick a specific behavior and reward them each and every single time they do the correct behavior. Whenever your daughter says, “I’m mad” instead of acting out at you or their sibling, give her a sticker or lifesaver or huge hug. Positive reinforcement changes behavior.
It’s ok for your kids to be bored.
Seriously, let your children be bored. It’s not your job as a parent to make sure they are entertained every single day. They don’t need to sit in front of the TV or play video games all day. Tell them to go outside into the sunshine (being mindful of social distancing) or upstairs where to play with toys and use their imaginations. Stronger imagination = smarter kids.
Take a deep breath.
Isn’t that what all everyone tells you to do? But really, take a deep breath and recognize that you’re human and not a perfect parent. This is actually difficult, and YOU AND YOUR FAMILY are doing the best you can.
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