Social distancing creates hurdles for families with children. In addition to fears about COVID-19, a big question for many parents is, “What are we going to do all day?” Children can become restless when kept at home for extended periods, other experience depression or anxiety.
Here are some suggestions about ways to not only keep children engaged, but also encourage their positive mental health.
- Initiate real conversations with your children about COVID-19. Address their fears and acknowledge their disappointments. Children will have questions and it is best if they get real facts from you.
- Create an open space where children can exercise, dance and move with abandon
- Make time together for playing board and card games, putting together puzzles
- Embrace storytelling and add to the fun by integrated charades. Become your children’s muse by encouraging them to write and act out a skit
- Challenge kids to forecast their future in the year 2040 and write a short story and illustrate it with drawings
- Tap everyone’s inner chef by converting dinner or snack time into a family cooking adventure
- Upcycle clothes you’ve been meaning to giveaway into a costume trunk for playing dress up
- Assigned chores around the house that are appropriate for children’s ages
- Foster kindness by talking with your children about why creating care packages and delivering them to your church, synagogue or community shelter is an important way to help others, especially during uncertain times when some families’ lives abruptly change o
- Start your own band or set-up Karaoke to make music together. Create a a new dance and start a sensation on Facebook.
Although social distancing is contrary to human instincts, it does offer extra time to spend with your immediate family. Stay positive. Make the most this bonus of family time together.
Understanding culture is vital for healthcare professionals and their patients. In her book, Are You Culturally Competent? Elisa P. Bell, M.D. bridges cultural gaps to improve healthcare outcomes.
By Elisa P. Bell, M.D., Board certified physician in both adult and child/adolescent psychiatry
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