The need for self-care
Young children need their parents and caregivers to offer a calm, stable and predictable "home base" for them. It may be a challenge, but the best way to help your child be at their best is to take care of yourself. Remember, how you handle this stressful situation can affect how your children manage their worries.
Ways to support yourself
- Choose activities that make you happy, reduce your stress level and leave you feeling calm.
- Pay attention to how you are feeling.
- Give yourself small breaks from the stress of the situation. Meditation and other replenishing activities are a great way to de stress. Take a moment to breathe and feel present.
- Be kind to yourself. This is not the time be hard on ourselves for not being the "best" parent. Right now, we need to be gentle with our kids, ourselves and our community.
- Stay connected to loved ones.
- Balance media consumption with other activities you enjoy.
- Eat healthy. Exercise. If you can, get outside.
- You don’t have to have all the answers. It is okay to say, "I don’t know the answer to that but there are many smart, dedicated people working on this, so we just have to do our part and let them do theirs."
How to manage telecommuting and homeschooling
- Try to keep daily routines as stable as possible during this break.
- While a routine is good for your family, rigidity to that schedule is not. Things happen, so give yourself grace. Give kids grace too and let them explore creative ways to learn.
- Make time to do things at home that have made your family feel better in other stressful situations, such as reading, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, exercising or engaging in meaningful activities consistent with your family and cultural values.
How to talk to your kids about COVID-19
- Keep updated about what is happening with the outbreak by getting information from credible media outlets, local public health authorities and updates from public health websites.
- Minimize exposure to media outlets or social media that might promote fear.
- Focus your family discussion on supporting children by encouraging questions and helping them understand the current situation. Check in regularly with them.
- In a developmentally appropriate way, talk about what the current disease outbreak is, how it is contracted, possible dangers and protective steps being taken by your family and community.
Helping children cope with common reactions to stress
Contact for news media inquiries: Lisa Flowers, Communications Director, 571-474-5435 (cell) or 703-324-7006 (office).