Corona-chaos is real – we don’t have to tell you about it. Our team at Chai Lifeline has put together their best tips that you can implement right now at home to help you and your family get through this – and maybe even have a bit of fun doing it!
1. YOUR FAMILY IS A TEAM.
Let your children know that your family is a team. Team members help each other out, contribute their skills and talents for the good of all and they also rely on each other. What can each member of the family do to help your team? Things like hand-washing reminders, helping with chores and caring for each other. It’s really important to recognize the special things that team members are doing daily. Make it a habit to celebrate the little things everyday. Embracing the team mentality will help your family get through this together…and win at it.
TIP: Pesach is around the corner and with kids at home from school, perhaps each child gets a job to do that will help with cleaning for Pesach or preparing the home for the holiday.
2. STAY INFORMED…WITH LIMITATIONS.
There are a lot of alarming updates going around. A lot of things that you read on social media or hear throughout the 24/7 news cycle are unsubstantiated. Limit yourself to one or two reputable news sources and try to make a point of shutting it off throughout the day. While it might be hard to turn away with everything moving so fast, children will pick up easily on the anxiety of the adults around them – both in person and on the radio or television.
If your children want to know what’s going on, let them know that you will update them every morning with news that is relevant to them (as is age appropriate). Encourage them to ask questions if they have them and answer them as honestly and fully as you can. An appropriately informed child is a less-anxious child.
TIP: Don’t pretend that it’s not happening, but reinforce that it’s not the only thing happening.
3. SELF-CARE FOR ONE AND ALL.
As a parent, having your kids and your spouse all at home right now is probably not your dream scenario. And let’s be even more real – it’s likely not their dream come true either. It’s reasonable to assume that you’ll be feeling extra pressure and exhaustion….that goes for all of you. Make sure that you take the time and space when you can for self-care. Whether it’s a bath, a tea, a book, chocolate, or a mindfulness exercise (there are great online resources for that) make sure you take good care of yourself so that you’ll have continued energy for your kids.
Tip: Enforce self-care for everyone in your family. If you don’t all do this already, take this opportunity to make it habit.
4. FEEL YOUR FEELINGS.
Acceptance. To put it simply, it is what it is. If the kids fight, if you’re moody, or if everyone’s moody- that’s okay. Allow yourself to be okay with that. Do your best, but it’s okay if your family feels that stir-crazy feeling. Consider ways to deal with these feelings. That might look mandating some alone time for everyone or it might be trying to enforce limitations on bad moods – “you can wallow in that mood for 20 minutes…then we’re going to do something to get our minds off of it.” Whatever works for you.
Tip: Breathe. Deep breath in, long exhale. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
5. STRUCTURE. IT DOES EVERYBODY GOOD.
In times of uncertainty, which we are certainly living in right now, some will find that the most helpful thing to do is to maintain the structure that you have always followed. While your children are not in school, they should keep the same weekday routines – bedtimes and waking up times, academic time, talent time, snacks and meals, recess, fitness and free time. For those schools offering virtual classes, this will be easier since the school is sticking with the schedule. For those schools sending out homework or teaching packages, encourage your children to work through those packages at set times.
Tip: Have snacks and lunch together and be social just like you all do at work and at school.
6. DON’T JUST SIT THERE. GET ACTIVE.
Exercise is also a really good way to release stress and frustration. Come together as a family and do some kind of exercise together. There is an abundance of workout activities available online and more popping up all the time. If you want to get offline – which is really important too by the way – how about making up an exercise routine with climbing up and down your stairs, doing jumping jacks, jump rope etc. If you get everyone in the family to suggest an exercise, you’ll have a full routine in no time.
TIP: The weather is getting nicer. If you can get outside for a walk around the block, you’ll feel better. Bonus points for this because you also will get fresh air and if you’re lucky, Vitamin D too.
7. LET IT GO.
Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, you’re probably seeing posts of families (some you know and some you don’t) who are making their time at home together is isolation look easy breezy. They might even look like they’re having a blast! It’s natural to see these things and feel like you are failing at this social distancing thing. Maybe your kids aren’t all sitting at the dining room table taking their online learning classes, doing homework and craft projects. Maybe you haven’t taken the opportunity to reorganize your laundry room. Maybe you haven’t even done laundry for days. LET IT GO. The best thing you can do is go easy on yourself and your family. The most important thing is that you’re all safe and protected. Actually, it’s the only thing.
TIP: You know what this tip is going to be. Put down your phone. NOW.
Here at Chai Lifeline, we’d like to help you in any way we can. While we’re entirely limiting person-to-person interactions for the time being in this period of social distancing. If there is anything we can bring to your home (think activity packs, essential errands, and the like) or moral support we can offer over the phone, please reach out, we’re here.