Embrace the new normal.
Be prepared for the new normal.
Haven’t we been hearing these expressions recently? But what exactly is the new normal? How will this affect our families and our children?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people from across the globe and experts from different industries say that we are now entering a new order of things where the new normal is so much different from what we know before.
Schools are now considering online modes of learning. Some parents are slowly exploring the possibilities of a homeschooling setup. And governments are pushing for physical distancing in various establishments.
With so many changes in the world right now, how do we make sure that our children won’t be negatively affected by these? Here are some ways to protect our children’s emotional and mental wellbeing in spite of the changes brought about by this pandemic:
1. Talk to them about the current situation.
Warm communication is one of the keys for children’s acceptance of the new normal.
Do they keep bugging you when they can go back to school or when play dates can happen again? Are they worried that they may not see and hug their cousins, relatives, and friends ever again?
It’s not a good idea to hide the real cause of these changes. Let them know why school activities, social gatherings, and certain celebrations suddenly had to be postponed.
Preschoolers can understand the concept of germs, bacteria, and viruses causing sickness through explanation aided by visuals and songs. Even toddlers can have an idea about the outbreak if you will be creative enough in your communication strategy. Try exploring or making up stories that can creatively convey the message that people have to be very careful about their health.
2. Look back on your normal routine before and see what you can continue up to now.
Try moving away your focus from the negative to the positive. What activities were you doing before that you can still continue up to now while you are still at home?
Maybe your kids are missing story-telling time? Or perhaps they have been looking forward to an afternoon picnic with you? Use your time at home to create meaningful memories with your children. Be resourceful in trying different modes of doing the same activities before.
Story-telling sessions can be a lot more fun if you can create beautiful props or make-believe costumes. If you are now working from home, you can use your travel time before as an extra time for creative projects like this.
3. Set routines that you children can still look forward to everyday.
Routines can help create a sense of normality among our children. Before lockdown, they could be well aware of what to expect for the entire day. But now that most children all over the world have to stay at home the entire day for weeks or months, then they might now be experiencing confusion because of what’s happening.
Setting routines can help them predict how their days would go. Maybe you can create a wall calendar for them where they can see the activities for the day or the entire week. Don’t make things complicated. Mornings can be for prayer time, breakfast with the family, and study time with you. Afternoons can be composed of nap times, play time with siblings, and DIY activities. Evenings can all be about rest, free time, story-telling and family time.
Remember, we will all get through this. Our children will soon have brighter days. Don’t lose hope.