How to Maintain Resilience and Routines During a Pandemic
Your child is returning to school during an unsettling and challenging time. With the disruption of regular routines, you may be at a loss of how you can help your child remain healthy and emotionally resilient. As you a parent, you are having to help your child make sense of the new "normal", which can lead to increased stress. Here are some tips and basic routines that you can follow to help your child maintain resilience as they return to school during this time of uncertainty.
1. Create opportunities for connection. Even in difficult times, children do well when they have stable, supportive adults in their lives, and meaningful ways to stay connected.
Connect with loved ones through technology-schedule regular Zoom meetings or face time with loved ones that your child is not able to see face to face during this time.
Schedule quality time-Set a standing date for quality time. Whether that’s weekly, daily or something else, it’ll give everyone something to look forward to, and add some structure to your child’s routine. Here is a list of 50 ways for you to connect with your child.
2. Create structure and routine. Routines provide a sense of safety, control and predictability. Helping to establish a routine and teaching your child how to stick to it is an an essential skill. Check out the following video which includes 4 steps in creating a routine for your child.
3. Practice self-care. Children become more resilient when they are able to tune into their feelings and learn how to manage worries and anxiety.
Teach kids different ways to take care of their bodies and mind.
Teach your child ways to have fun without the computer.
Develop a self care routine for your family by including "scheduled" self-care time on the daily schedule.
Create a list of self-care activities and have a fun family competition to see how many your family can check off the list. Celebrate if your family reaches their goal. Check out this example of a checklist that you can use.
4. Teach your child to think positively. When your child is facing anxiety or worry, it is easy for their thoughts to go wild, thinking that the worst will occur.
Teach your child to come up with a word or phrase when they start to feel anxious. (examples may include "I am at peace", "This feeling will not last forever", "I am calm")
Encourage your child to look for the positive in themselves and others.
Create a gratitude journal where your child can write down 2-3 things they are grateful for about the day.
Teach your child to challenge negative thoughts. Check out the following resource that you can use with your child.
5. Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a popular practice that can help kids and teens relieve stress and anxiety, focus their attention, and develop emotional control. The idea of being mindful is to be present and to focus on where you are and what you’re. Research has shown that teaching kids to be mindful helps connect them to a positive state of mind, while giving them the feeling that they are more in control .
Focus on the 5 senses (5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
Teach your child to identify thoughts, feelings, and sensations in their body
Make a mindfulness jar to teach kids the importance of settling their thoughts.
Blow bubbles. Have your kids focus on taking in a deep, slow breath, and exhaling steadily to fill the bubble. Encourage them to pay close attention to the bubbles as they form, detach, and pop or float away.
Practice mindful breathing. Check out this video to practice paying attention to your breath.
Check out this article with 12 Simple Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids
Learn about the benefits of mindfulness and additional ways to practice mindfulness with your child by checking this link.