Tips For Families During COVID - 19 School Closures
Concern about coronavirus can make both children and families anxious. It is important that we communicate to our children the facts about the virus in an age-appropriate way and reassure them that they are safe at home. When communicating with your child take the following into consideration:
- Remain calm and reassuring
- Make yourself available
- Avoid excessive blaming
- Monitor television viewing and social media
- Maintain a normal routine
- Be honest and accurate in what you say
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19
- Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection
- Discuss new rules or practices at school
- Communicate with your school
- Keep explanations age-appropriate
Here are some useful websites:
This disruption to routine and the overwhelming level of information about COVID-19 can result in children feeling enormous stress and anxiety. It is important to give your child a sense of control by including them in positive meaning-making about the situation and brainstorming ways they can spend this time in a positive and productive way. Encouraging your child to find ways of helping others during this time can reframe this time of uncertainty as a time of growth. Here are some articles that discuss management of stress and coping with anxiety:
Additional resources for managing stress and anxiety:
The following list includes some screen free ideas for keeping busy during school closures:
- Go for a walk outside
- Go for a bike ride
- Bake/cook for fun
- Read a book
- Write in a journal
- Make a card or write a letter and mail it to a friend or family member
- Make something out of all those Amazon boxes
- Create experiments with supplies found around the house
- Get a started on early spring yard work (if weather permits)
- Practice an instrument
- Create art
- Play a game as a family
- Journaling prompts for middle schoolers
- Free coloring pages
- Baking recipes
During times like this, processing too much information from media can cause more panic and anxiety in students. We recommend limiting the access your student has to media to allow your student space to process all the information and to ask questions. Here are some guidelines for creating a media contract with your student:
- Set family expectations for all devices - whether it is the TV, tablets, computers, or cell phones, set clear expectations about the use of devices and be a role model for your students.
- Guidelines about when and where the device can be used - although this time away from school and work can be stressful, it can also be a time to reconnect as a family. Set guidelines about not using phones while eating meals together or before bed.
- Encourage your student to stop and think before they post - misinformation can result in more panic during this stressful time. Encourage your student to research before reposting anything or to think about if that information will be helpful to others or have negative consequences.
- Respectful behavior and completing online school work earns more privileges - in an effort to motivate students to complete the online school work they are receiving, technology privileges can be used as a reward.
- Have open communication about media content - be open about the information you are aware of and have open discussions with your students about what is going on currently as we are getting new updates each day. If there is a question that you don’t have the answer for, research the information together on reliable websites or news outlets.