Helping Kids Cope with School Closures
Schools around the nation and around the world are closing to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. While your kids may have initially been excited at the prospect of missing school, the reality of not seeing their friends and the impact of losing their daily routine will soon begin to weigh on them. Fortunately, the organization Save the Children has some sound advice to for helping kids cope with school closures.
They suggest the following six steps (along with my own comments on each):
1. Set the Stage. Let your children know what is going on. Make sure to use age appropriate language, but know that your silence on the current circumstances does not help. In the end, if you don’t give them information, they will fill in the blanks with their own ideas…which are likely even worse than reality.
2. Stay on Schedule. Daily rhythms and routines help to reduce stress. It doesn’t have to look exactly like it did pre-covid-19, but set up some sort of schedule for bedtimes, wakeup time and your day and stick to it. But, show yourself (and them) grace because, as we all know, schedules aren’t always met.
3. Co-create plans. Let you child have some agency in coming up with the schedule and plan. When the world seems out of control
4. Get moving. You may have to get creative with this one given limitations on going out and the number of people in your family, but find a way to keep your kids (and you) active. Boredom often leads to inactivity. Kids (and you) will need physical strength and health to combat the mental toll of quarantine and self0-isolation.
5. Eat Well. Also, avoid getting into unhealthy eating habits. Boredom often leads to unhealthy snacking. It’s ok to indulge from time-to-time, but discourage your kids from stress eating or eating out of boredom.
6. Prioritize Learning. Save the children explains, “Did you know you are your child’s first and best teacher? Use school resources, books and educational websites and apps. Get creative by turning everyday moments into brain-building opportunities. Most importantly, have fun learning together!”
You can find a great summary of these ideas here.
For more information and resources related to Covid-19, please visit our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Resource Page.