COVID-19 has changed the shape of day-to-day life for everyone, but many families are taking the good with the bad. For those families who have to go through a period of quarantining together, it can be easy to get off track or ignore each other. Here are 10 ways to make the most of your family's quarantine.
Find Your Structure
Now is a time to involve your kids in creating a plan for how your days. Create a schedule for different activities. It may be tempting to have 8 hours of chores, after all it is spring cleaning, but create a balance. Make sure you include family time, mealtimes, homework if school is remote. Don’t forget to schedule blocks for free times. Emphasize that these free times are an opportunity for them for screen time if they choose. Post each day’s schedule and work together to stick to it. The more you involve your kids in creating the schedule, the better they will comply.
Your daily plan needs to start with yourself. Don’t feel guilty about creating time for you. Everybody will need a breather right now. By sharing with your children why you need time for self-care in the schedule, you can be a great role model for them to develop good habits for their own self-care.
Researchers at Columbia University found that the more often children each dinner with their parents, the less likely they’re to smoke, drink, or use illicit drugs. The same research found teens who regularly eat dinner with their families are also more likely to get better grades and do better in school. Perhaps most interesting was the finding that the more often that kids have meals with their parents, the more likely the family was to engage in conversations over dinner.
Children might complain about not knowing what to do, but if you create scheduled free time, they will usually find something fun to do. If there’s room in the house set aside one room for unbridled free play, do it. Video calls for your children and their friends are also available. This is also a great time to break out old hobbies and jigsaw puzzles.
Dust off those old board games and create a time each day for family game time. There are also some great family games that you can play on your phones or other devices. The key is to find ones where you are playing together, laughing together and being together.
Recapture the Good Times
This would also be a great time to watch old family videos. Connecting with each other and with happier times is always good for our mental health.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Even with your older children now is not the time to stay up late every night and sleep late every morning. You’ll also be left with very moody children the next day. Stick with your bedtime schedules.
While officials are asking people to distance themselves from others, getting outside is allowed and encouraged. Outside time and fresh air has huge physical and mental health benefits. Take walks together, go on hikes together, or even a on the ground picnic with a blanket and tablecloth.
Stay in Touch
Rather than being on the phone or social media all day long yourself, try to schedule set times to check in with your adult friends and family.
Give Kids an Outlet to Discuss Emotions
Journaling is a good way for adolescents to process their feelings. You know your kids and if when you see them withdrawing set aside a time to talk as a family about how everyone is feeling and coping with the outbreak.