It’s been a frequent question, how to handle the current situation with regard to kids. In Washington DC, the school systems are closed for at least a month, and I’m thinking longer. This is what I’m telling my patients and families:
1. Establish a routine. This needs to include online schoolwork, chores, exercise, scheduled not random downtime with a preferred activity, and very regular bedtimes and morning routines. You do not get to sleep till 11.￼
2. This is not a snow day. We can’t live on Doritos, ice cream, and junk food. I am asking all kids nine and above, to help plan and prepare a meal at least once a week for the entire family. This can actually be fun. ￼￼￼We all need to cook.￼
3. Developmentally appropriate information needs to be discussed. From social media to television, we hear bits and pieces that can be very scary. No kid needs to be terrified.
￼4. Get some outdoor time. It’s spring, and it’s beautiful. Just because we can’t interact, touch or hug, doesn’t mean we don’t get to embrace the sun.
5. Find one cool new hobby or interest to explore. You’ve never had time like this to do that.
6. Don’t forget to check on others. Lack of social contact is one thing, but we have neighbors, relatives, elders, who need our support.￼
6. Last time, probably most importantly, give each other space. We are used to being at school, the office, sports, activities. Now we are stuck with each other￼￼￼. Annoyance happens.
Find some alone time, for each family member.￼