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The parents’ guide to keeping the kids happy and engaged at home during COVID-19

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
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One benefit of staying at home as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 is having more time with your family. However, with the need to juggle both work and domestic responsibilities—not to mention the varying degrees of anxiety caused by the pandemic and other pressing current events—it can be particularly challenging for parents to stay composed during these trying times.

Making sure that your kids are comfortable, relaxed, and engaged despite these difficult circumstances is an excellent way to manage your entire household. Here are eight ways you can maximize your time at home together:

  1. Choose age-appropriate activities
  2. Children have different needs and interests at different ages. Remember this when you look for ways to keep your children entertained and engaged at home.

    For instance, avoid resorting to extended periods of TV viewing and video games with kids in their young, formative years. It may seem convenient, but too much screen time can have harmful long-term effects on their cognitive development.

    Meanwhile, older children might want more independence and autonomy with their chosen forms of entertainment and recreation. Give them the space they need while still being present whenever they need you.

  3. Empathize with their lack of social activity
  4. If you have school-age kids, the lack of face-to-face interaction with their friends can grow into more amplified distress the longer you limit your movement. Do your best to acknowledge this situation. This will help you prepare a more suitable response when your children begin to act on their emotions.

    Address the mounting isolation by encouraging your kids to join you for a stroll around your neighborhood from time to time. Just being able to step out into the open can be a huge relief.

  5. Validate their frustrations
  6. Everyone can feel stress at any age, especially given the circumstances that we are all forced to live in right now. Even kids, with their seemingly carefree lives, are not exempt from this.

    Expect to encounter and deal with tantrums and breakdowns from your kids at some point. Listen to their concerns and respond with sympathy and understanding, instead of denying their feelings or, worse, scolding them for it. Allow your kids to express their sadness or anger when they need to, as long as they do it in a way that does not cause anyone—including themselves—any harm.

  7. Share your own concerns but only to a limited extent
  8. Encourage openness with your kids by being open to them, as well. If your children can see that you are as distressed about the current situation as they are, they will feel more at ease about their own emotions.

    This requires a delicate balancing act, though. While you can share some of your worries, stay strong and composed while you discuss them. Your kids need to see you as their steady and unwavering foundation, especially during hard times.

  9. Teach them mindfulness
  10. Managing mental health can begin at any age. In fact, your kids will benefit more if you can teach them mindfulness practices while they are young. Whether you introduce them to regular meditation or simply remind them to slow down and take deep breaths every now and then, you will equip your children with the proper responses to deal with the most trying situations.

  11. Learn together
  12. Look for proactive approaches to dealing with the stressful COVID-19 situation, especially as a family. Pick up a new skill or hobby that you can all get into and learn at the same time. Perhaps guitar lessons or a crash course on baking an entire menu of desserts? Choose something that has a rewarding payoff that your entire family can enjoy together.

  13. Establish clear boundaries
  14. With everyone in the family suddenly spending most of their time at home, clear rules and limits must be set so that everyone can coexist peacefully and pleasantly. This includes designating particular places for work, rest, and play, as well as well-defined schedules that separate serious from leisure activities.

  15. Set the right examples
  16. As parents, it is your responsibility to lead by example. Observe the daily schedules that you’ve established. Encourage healthy living by eating right and maintaining a regular exercise routine. Limit the time you spend in front of your TV, computer, or smartphone. Staying in your best behavior will encourage your kids to do the same.

Living in Metro Atlanta is a rewarding experience when you know how to make the most out of every situation. To learn more about the best lifestyle you can live in this area, get in touch with DeKalb County real estate specialists Natalie Gregory & Co. Call 404.550.5113 or email Natalie(dotted)Gregory(at)Compass(dotted)com today.