By Melissa Horowitz, LCSW
Children and families are experiencing many changes in their daily lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – children are participating in online learning, more family members are home throughout the day, and many are feeling a wide array of emotions. Here are some tips, tricks and ideas for how to uphold a sense of normalcy within the household, engage in fun, family-filled activities, maintain communication, utilize coping strategies to decrease feelings of anxiety and offer support to children during this difficult time.
Activities and Scheduling
- Maintain your family routine – bedtime, meals, schoolwork/homework and exercise can occur at usual times throughout the days
- Engage in activities that are fun and help you and your family members feel better in other stressful situations! Some examples of self-care activities you can participate in include exercising, reading, listening to music, mindfulness and meditation, and watching a favorite movie
- Create a “Family Fun” wheel!
- Take a sheet of paper and cut into the shape of a circle. Divide the circle into as many parts as you would like, based on the amount of activities you and your family would partake in (i.e. six activities would call for six sections in the circle)
- Draw, color and decorate each section of the circle with one labeled activity
- Spin the wheel (or roll a dice if you would rather label each activity with a number) for a different activity that you and your family can participate in!
- Some ideas include board games, puzzles, card games, watching a new movie and a story read-aloud
- Games that require no materials except paper, markers/crayons/colored pencils: Pictionary, create your own Scrabble board (take paper and write letters, cut, and create board game) and Charades
- Encourage participation in household chores – when children participate in household duties, they may feel a sense of autonomy, ownership and accountability
Maintaining Communication and Connection
- Develop a plan for maintaining communication with others. It is important that children and family members continue to socialize with each other, as well as friends from school and the community.
- You can schedule phone calls, video chats, etc. with family and friends the same way that play dates are scheduled.
Offering Support to Children
- Discuss concerns about COVID-19 in a safe and comfortable place, and continue to check-in with your child on a regular basis.
Liz Morrison Therapy is a group psychotherapy practice located in Manhattan (and currently doing teletherapy). For more information, please visit www.LizMorrisonTherapy.com. To find out more about Energetic Juniors’s customized in-home fitness programs, contact Bonita at Bonita@EnergeticJuniors.com, or call 212-879-1566. Currently offering virtual training.