15 Jul Beating the Pandemic Blues By Kelly Christ, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center intern
This summer is certainly like no other. With many camp programs cancelled and other seasonal activities altered or postponed, parents are struggling to find ways to keep their children occupied and happy. Here are some fresh ideas to enjoy the time with your family.
Children ages 6 and younger may struggle to understand the vast changes in our lives due to the pandemic. It is important that parents explain the situation at an appropriate level for their children’s understanding. Cohen Children’s Northwell Health has created an engaging and creative coloring book with valuable tips to keep your child safe from coronavirus germs.
Though the situation can seem scary for young children, remind them to see the brighter side of things: For example, while they may not be able to see their friends as much or participate in some summertime activities, more time at home also means more time spent with parents, siblings, extended relatives and pets!
Young children may have a particularly hard time being in the house too much. This is a great opportunity to explore what nature has to offer nearby, with local parks serving as exciting and socially distant adventures for families!
Older children, ages 7 to 12, are very likely to feel frustrated by cancellations of their usual summer activities due to COVID-19. Encourage children to tap into their creative side! See if your children want to try their hands at different crafts. Do-it-yourself projects can bolster creativity, confidence and focus. For some ideas, Good Housekeeping has compiled a list of 50 at-home crafts, including banjos, mini volcanoes and a kiddie car wash!
The internet has a wide array of free entertainment resources for children bored at home. If your child has already managed to read every book on his or her shelf, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has published a free children’s book, The Ickabog, on her website! She is also hosting an artwork contest for children ages 7 to 12 with a chance to see their illustration featured in the printed edition of the book due out this fall.
Children and teenagers 13 to 18 years old are grappling with complicated feelings this summer. They may be missing friends or feeling anxious about what school in the fall will look like. We encourage parents to have conversations with their children about feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. This can be a great chance to start an open and compassionate dialogue with your child about mental health. Sometimes, the best thing a parent can do is to simply listen.
If your child is struggling with difficult feelings, journaling might be a good hobby for them to take up this summer. Journaling has been associated with many benefits for mental health and is often used as part of therapeutic treatment. Bullet journaling has garnered attention for its unique blend of mindfulness and productivity training. For the 13 to 18 age group, these habits can boost their state of mind and help develop productivity and organization skills that can greatly assist them during the school year.
Remind your children that though this summer may be frustrating at times, positivity can always be found. Encourage them to value self-care time and to continue to emphasize it in their lives. Be creative with new traditions and activities that entertain and excite in a safe manner. How you respond may even help shape how they respond to obstacles in the future!For more resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our website.