We have all been under a great deal of stress since quarantine began in March of this year. In the blink of an eye we were forced into a state of distress. Children came home to endure an extended summer, parents had to adjust to working from home, and essential workers had to contend with balancing their work with homelife more than ever before. We have learned a lot over the past few months and even though it has been stressful, there are also many rewarding experiences as well. If you are feeling the stress of quarantine, take a minute and embrace these tips for helping you deal with stress during this trying time.
Children at home during quarantine can be difficult. The general summer activities that most of us enjoy have seemingly evaporated and children can get very bored very fast. It is tempting, and as a parent, I have done this, to allow your children to play on their mobile devices for hours on end just so you can have a semblance of peace to get something done. However, allowing your children free reign over devices can be detrimental to their ability to imagine and learn through play.
It is the job of the parent to regulate time on such devices and even if it is uncomfortable or they become combative at the thought of losing time on their devices, it has to be done. What I did with my children was had them earn their time on their devices. It takes time to get used to, but if you require your children to clean up their spaces, do chores, or read a book in order to earn time on their devices. This forces the child to take some initiative and enables them to understand that they have to earn the privileges they are given. Setting standards of acceptable behavior and sticking with those standards as a parent will drastically reduce the stress received from raising kids during this quarantine period.
Discussion is Key
One of the worst things you can do in a family, and especially during quarantine, is to neglect to talk to your family members. Dialog is essential. Anxiety is one of the largest issues facing families these days and talking openly about those feelings will help your family contend with those issues in a healthy manner. Encourage your children to talk to you about how they are feeling and what anxieties they may have about the future. A great exercise that has been implemented in our home is to have a weekly family meeting.
Set aside a time each week to talk. During these meetings, do not start off with highly stressful conversation, but something easy. What we do is discuss what we want on our weekly grocery list. That way, we break the ice, open a dialog, and allow the children to feel as though they have a say in the weekly menu. That little window of dialog enables everyone to feel secure and safe to say what they feel without offending anyone.
Keep Informed, but Careful of Sources
Information is everywhere these days and where staying informed is great, it can also cause undue stress. Take care to limit the amount of news you allow into your home. Find a trusted news source and only allow information from that resource to impact your daily life. Set aside time to watch the news for about an hour and then turn it off. You will stay informed of essential news without allowing too much information to weigh heavily on your mind. Information is great, but only from trusted, credible, and factual resources.
Embrace the Day
Quarantine has proven to be more difficult than most of us had imagined. What started out as just a short time in which we had to alter our everyday lives has turned into something we will likely be contending with for a long time. However, that does not mean all is lost. Now is not the time to panic and live in fear but embrace the day.
No, you cannot go to your favorite places and have large gatherings with friends, but you can focus on your family. Take the family outside in the evening to roast marshmallows or cook over a campfire. Try out a new DIY in your home and see what you can make together. Lay a blanket outside and just look at the stars. Take every day as it comes and embrace the little things that make life meaningful.
Today’s world is drastically different, but that does not mean it has to be overly stressful. Kids take cues from their parents and if the parents are finding constructive ways to contend with the stresses of quarantine, the children will also. We will get through this with patience and kindness and the place to start is right in your own home.