Schooling: Most schools are requiring online work. To keep things “normalized,” treat this time home-school.
- Do have children awaken and go through their morning routine as if they were going to school.
- Do set up a specific study area.
- Do use a cardboard box to set-up a three-sided study area, using duct tape. Cut the box up so that you duct tape a front and two sides together. When “school” is out, take down the “walls” and fold them up until the next day.
- Do use paper and pencil to have a dialing “get this done” to-do list for school each day.
- Do establish lunch time, using a packed lunch to make it as true to school as you can.
Social Interaction: Using technology to connect is already in most children’s skill sets when it comes to non-family members. To keep things “normalized,” try these tips
- Do have children online socialize with their friends during the home-school lunch period and any recess times you build into the day.
- Do have the children set-up times (or if younger, parents set up with other parents) that schedule interactions online, trying to use the same time every day.
- Do begin to build in fun family activities daily, such as board games or family movie time, to use the family as a way of continuing social contact.
Talking About COVID-19: Every year, we talk to our children about colds and the flu. The vast majority of us do it when it’s cold outside and when we take them for the flu vaccine. Using those times as a model, “normalize” your conversations about COVID-19 by using similar language, but if your child is very anxious, try these tips
- Do allow them to talk about their fears while keeping a cooler head
- Do use the F E A R approach to working through their fears:
- F: Talk about the fear and how others get scared too
- E: Have your child share expecting bad things to happen ideas to hear their scary thoughts out loud
- A: Help your child recall other times they were afraid but came up with ways of handling it using alternative ideas (I could instead wash my hands, instead not touch my face, instead stay an arm’s length away if I’m outside) instead) and alternative actions to cope with being afraid (fun-time hand washing, silly touching my hips/knees/toes, hold out my arms and helicopter spin to see how far apart I am).
- R: Help your child notice how well things turned out every day as the result of coping and reward themselves with pats on the back or a treat.
Remember, Apart We Stand Together