…much can learned from activities that are less formal and more spontaneous than classroom work. And so, over the past seven weeks, we’ve established a good routine that is helping us all to cope.
A feelings chart is really any tool that helps a child expand their emotional vocabulary. It helps kids reflect on their feelings and describe them with more precision.
Art can be used as a “communication bridge” for parents and children, says Nadia Paredes, a California-based registered art therapist, and may be especially useful in starting difficult conversations.
Gone for now are the days of traditional playdates, team sports, and even school recess. Who knew playing at the playground would be something we’d take for granted. We all have had to come to grips with this new normal, but as an adult, it’s easier to stay connected to your friends. But it’s important to remember that kids need to keep in touch just as much, if not more than we do. And they can continue to work on their playdate social skills.
Throughout our family’s long first month of social distancing—which in our case has amounted to being basically self-quarantined—you’ve adapted to a tremendous amount of change.
The new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues take time to get used to. Adapting to lifestyle changes such as these, and managing the fear of contracting the virus and worry about people close to us who are particularly vulnerable, are challenging for all of us. They can be particularly difficult for people with mental health conditions.
Certainly, existing screen time recommendations (no screen time for children under 18 months and less than one hour of daily high-quality programming for 2- to 5-year-olds) don’t really account for the reality of how we use media. Sure, our children use screens to watch cartoons, but they also need them to connect with teachers, classmates and grandparents.
Parents, families, and people in general across the world are doing a great job following guidelines for social distancing and self quarantining, and coping with the new situations and challenges that arise due to this. However, it can still be a tough situation, parents who are now working from home may still be in need of someone to entertain their child so that they can have a meeting or really focus on something. Luckily, Babysits and Caribu can help!
How does all this affect children? No doubt some of my readers would have quite a bit of insight to offer! The situations readers are dealing with are no doubt highly diverse. All I can offer are general guidelines. These rely on what psychologists have learned from prior public crises (e.g., the 9/11 attacks, earthquakes, and some others). I thank my colleague Linda Schmidt, M.D., for helpful insights.
Children vary so much in their verbal and social-emotional development that even two kids who share the same chronological age may have very different ways of understanding or expressing complex problems. The goal is to break it down in ways that are simple, but meaningful.