With social distancing being encouraged to protect us from the virus, it’s as important as ever to find ways to connect with your kids at home. Check in with them often and show them that you are present during what may be a frightening time. “Movie marathons, home arts and crafts activities, kitchen science experiments, baking — there are lots of things we can do,” Dr. Bennett says. “The most important thing is to be proactive, both in our preparedness and in our conversations with our youth and with each other.”
Beyond having honest conversations with your kids, you can help them by sticking to a routine as much as possible. Create a schedule and write it down so they can follow it. (For younger kids who can’t read yet, make a visual schedule with pictures.) “Let kids know this is going to happen today, and this is what’s going to happen tomorrow, even if it’s different than what they’re used to,” Dr. Bennett says.
Dr. Steinberg agrees: “Routines help establish a set of habits and patterns that can add order and predictability to daily life. They can help children and their families adjust to new tasks, such as more frequent hand-washing, seeing grandparents through FaceTime instead of in-person, and doing schoolwork remotely. Doing these things in a predictable fashion will help them become ingrained in the child, and over time will seem less like a burden and more a natural part of daily life.”