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Now, more than ever children need us to be there for them. If we can use a calm voice throughout the day, give honest, simple, age appropriate answers to their questions and reassure children that this is a temporary situation and that you are there to take care of them, children will have less anxiety about this pandemic that we all are facing. Children watch what we do and feel the tone of our voices and body language. As we watch news reports about schools closing, working from home, and having to make tough decisions like canceling family trips, reassure them through their tears and questions that this is temporary and you will get through it together.
It is normal to have new stresses as we face the many changes the COVID-19 Pandemic brings. Remember to listen to your body and if you are feeling overloaded tell your kids, “My body needs a little break,” and do something for yourself like make a cup of tea, take a couple of deep breaths, snuggle up with a book, or take a walk (even if it’s just around the kitchen). Using tools to calm our response to stress teaches our children how to help calm down their bodies as well. Our attitudes and tone make a difference. Be the calm you want to see in your child as we navigate these new and trying times during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Be mindful, and minimize those more serious, grown up conversations and tv news reports when kids are present. According to PBS writer and educator Deborah Kris, “Research shows that just being in the presence of a compassionate, safe adult can help kids calm down. As families, we can be “that person” for each other.”
Tools & Tips to Navigate Our New Normal
Everyone’s world has been turned upside down and it is not easy to handle all of these changes for adults, let alone little ones. What do young children thrive on ? They need routine. Children aren’t able to schedule their day, or week like adults can. A three year old lives in the many moments that make up their day. Having a predictable schedule for them to count on will provide stability and well being. Build some consistent routines for meal and snack times, play times, nap and quiet times, and bath and bedtimes that will allow children to know what to expect each day. Children who are over tired or hungry will act out their frustrations if their basic needs aren’t met, adding more stress to this challenging time.
Be the Calm You Want to See in Your Child During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Young children love to play games and make up their own games. While at home follow your child’s own interests and imagination to help prepare activities for them to do. One of our favorites at North Star Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten is The Freeze Game. Put on some of the children’s favorite music and wiggle, dance and move until you pause the music and everyone freezes, then start it up again. You can use variations of this game by adding scarves to dance with, or little instruments to play like egg shakers, or moving like different animals. If it’s nice out you can even take the activity outside to play. According to Neuropsychologist Wendy Suzuki,"When [kids] run around, their brains are getting a bubble bath of good neurochemicals, neurotransmitters and endorphins… Adults need this, too.." This is a joyful way for parents and children to connect and have fun together while exercising, which is the most transformational thing you can do for your brain because exercise boosts mood and improves focus and cognition.
Let Your Child's Interests Guide Activities
Create an art station by preparing a designated space where your child can go to do art with you and on their own. Keep supplies that they can use out and easily accessible. Ideas include cups of crayons and markers, a tray of white copy paper, a pencil and some stencils to trace, child safety scissors, colorful construction paper, and a glue stick. A great project during this time is to make a card, picture, or story for a loved one. Share these over video calls, take pictures on your phone to share via text, or email them to family and friends. Finding new ways to stay connected will spread happiness and well being.
By Barbara Barnes
NSM Founder & Director
Phone: (517) 787-3026 | Hours: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
North Star Montessori
Preschool & Kindergarten