This unprecedented pandemic has created much disruption and anxiety for children, adolescents, parents and families as a unit, and has presented parents with added challenges to try to keep their children as happy and calm as possible during this time.
If we try to find some positives in the midst of so much anxiety it is that this time can also offer an opportunity for families to spend more quality and fun times together. Children are happy to be with their parents and siblings just doing ordinary things together such as:
- Cooking, baking and eating meals together
- Playing board games which can provide hours of fun together
- Card games, suitable for all age groups (e.g., Go Fish, Uno)
To exercise as a family is still possible within the confines of your own home. Many local and national sporting organizations/figures are posting daily exercise routines online which can be done by all family members together.
If you have a private outside garden/space you can all join in playing: Football, Hurling, Rounders, Rugby, Basketball, Frisbee, Table tennis (taking turns) and other table based games or create your own games!
Song, dance and music can also provide much solace and shared enjoyment. At international, national and local level, individual musicians, singers, drama and dance teachers and performing arts groups are posting a series of challenges, exercise routines, online dance classes and theatre workshops.
- Involve your children and adolescents in accessing their favourite musicians and dancers many of whom are now posting free online classes and concerts
- Encourage children and adolescents individual interests and talents
- Encourage them to write their own songs, music, create comic pieces, dance moves and create drama pieces, write their own scripts
- The entire family can be involved as active participants, audience, make-up artists, costume design or recording of these fun Put on shows on Skype/face time for grandparents who are cocooning
- Watching movies and old DVDs Each family member gets a turn to pick their movie on a particular night
- Activity based Wi-Fi games are a great source of family Create different teams giving everyone an opportunity to play and be part of different teams within the family
- Spending more time together with family pet/pets, grooming, training, playing and helping to take care of farm animals
- Gardening if you have an outdoor space weeding, digging, planting seeds flowers/vegetables in soil or in indoor pots within your home
- DIY use the opportunity to paint, redecorate, de-clutter or reorganise spaces within your home/outdoor space (if available)
- It is important to involve children and adolescents in the generation of ideas for your family
- Empathise with how much they are missing their friends, especially adolescents who are missing their developmentally appropriate peer group Encourage children to write to their friends and for adolescents to keep connected to their peers through text, phone, social media
- Involve adolescents in appropriate decision making, discussions and consultations with regard to helping their younger siblings during this time. Acknowledge their input as vital to helping you as parents create as much enjoyment and positive memories as a family. The feelings expressed by your children and adolescents are appropriate reactions to unusual abnormal events.
Provided by Primary Care Child & Family Psychology Service St Camillus’ Hospital Limerick.