Natalie Smith, LISW-S, CTP, Child and Family Program Director for Ravenwod Health wrote this #MentalHealthMatters blog about ways for families to deal with stress and anxiety around COVID-19
The outbreak of Coronavirus may be stressful for people. There has been a lot of news coverage regarding COVID-19 and it can be overwhelming for parents and frightening to children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has shared tips of how to talk to children during this unprecedented time.
These tips can help:
- Simple reassurance. Remind children that researchers and doctors are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, about the virus and are taking steps to keep everyone safe.
- Give them control. It’s also a great time to remind your children of what they can do to help – washing their hands often, coughing into a tissue or their sleeves, and getting enough sleep.
- Watch for signs of anxiety. Children may not have the words to express their worry, but you may see signs of it. They may get cranky, be more clingy, have trouble sleeping, or seem distracted. Keep the reassurance going and try to stick to your normal routines.
- Monitor their media. Keep young children away from frightening images they may see on TV, social media, computers, etc. For older children, talk together about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear.
In addition, the closures of schools and the institution of a “stay at home order” have changed our daily routines significantly. There are so many things you can during this time at home … you are only limited to your imagination!
Here are just a few family activities and ideas suggested by the Ohio Department of Health to keep us engaged during this time at home!
Get outside and play!
• Take a nature walk at one of the Geauga Parks.
• Join your children outside for a game of hide and seek, kick the can, or a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood.
• Take your dog for a walk.
• Start planning your summer garden!
• Go for a jog!
• Create an obstacle course with toys and games from your garage.
Explore More Indoors!
• Have a library card? Geauga County Public Library has a large collection of digital materials.
• Read aloud to each other, read silently, or take turns reading to each other.
• Start a virtual book club! Choose a book and start an online chat with your friends.
Play games indoors!
• Games for younger children include “Simon Says,” “Duck, Duck Goose,” or “Follow the Leader.” Older children can play “I Spy,” charades, indoor bowling, or make up new games.
• Try a new recipe or make dinner as a family.
• Pop some popcorn and cuddle up for a movie marathon.
• Turn up the volume and have a family dance party!
• Make a scrapbook of souvenirs from a previous vacation.
• Get the creativity flowing! Give your kids art supplies such as crayons, colored pencils, markers, or paints to create show pieces for your home. Put the artwork on your fridge or hang them around your house and host your very own art show.
• Family game night! Hold a Monopoly tournament or take that puzzle off the shelf.
Are your children missing their school friends or other family members?
• Set up a virtual playdate with their friends or connect with family members living afar via video chat.
• Explore Ohio virtually and learn more about places you could visit in the future at Ohio.org.
• Set aside time each day to engage children with free, hands-on learning activities that foster creativity at www.InfOhio.org.
Here is a book that will absolutely assist us in managing time at home!
Junk Re-Thunk! by Brian Yanish, Age Level: 6 – 9
Be well during this time and take time for your family!