Social-distancing and self-quarantining has been in effect the past few weeks and parents are actively searching for ways to keep their children calm and busy. Many families were forced to cancel spring break trips or camps, resulting in disappointment and boredom at home. In order to decrease acting out behaviors and increase quality family time, parents will have to create structure and find ways to keep their children occupied.
Implementing structure for your children is crucial while social-distancing at home and quarantined. Although schools are closed, the majority of children are still expected to complete schoolwork. Structuring your children’s schedule at home should be done similarly to their school. Many parents have reported that it is helpful to have a visible schedule for children to follow throughout the day. For example, a schedule could list out consistent activities your children would participate in during the day, while including new, exciting activities each day to keep them entertained. Time for snacks, breaks, and exercise should be included in order to provide healthy and active distractions.
Similarly to adults, your children may miss having social interactions with their friends and other children their age. They are not able to meet their friends for playdates or go to the park and make new friends; however, setting up virtual playdates via video-conferencing platforms may be a fun way for them to stay in touch with their friends. Many parents have found it helpful to encourage their children to participate in show-and-tell activities during video calls with their friends, where they could show their rooms, introduce siblings, or show their friends their favorite toys. Many preschools have already started organizing group video calls with students in order to continue encouraging social interactions and participating in virtual circle times where they enjoy singing songs and learning new information.
Additionally, physical activity is extremely important for children and adults of all ages. Many parents have found online videos that encourage children to participate in various exercises, ranging from yoga to dance videos helpful. Parents should participate in these activities with their children to motivate them to complete the activities. Maintaining some physical activity will help children get rid of excess energy while being cooped up in the house. Participating in activities as a family also creates a fun atmosphere, while helping your children gain healthy habits.
Lastly, having various activities, such as arts and crafts projects, lego building projects, and puzzles available to children allow parents to have some “adult time” where they can complete needed tasks. Many parents may be working from home at this time; therefore, they will need to find activities to distract their children for longer periods of time. Allowing your children to help in picking activities will keep them engaged and excited to participate. Hopefully these tips will be helpful to many parents while social-distancing in the home environment. Talking to a professional may also help many parents maintain structure and come up with activities that could be used in the home to keep their children calm and busy. Licensed psychologists at Miami Psychology Group provide individual, family, and couples therapy and are also available virtually.