It’s that time of year again. The weather is hot, the air conditioners are on, and the kiddie pools and popsicles are coming out.
It’s summer vacation.
Even in normal years this may bring anxiety waves right along with the heat waves for parents of school-aged children.
How can I keep my kids entertained for two months??
Throw in the Covid-19 pandemic and the mental health challenges it has brought on for youth and parents alike, and this summer is promising to be like no other. So, a group of child and family psychiatrists have compiled a toolkit of resources to help families get through the summer of COVID and beyond, called www.covidwithkids.org .
Covid With Kids breaks their support down into four steps:
1) Create Structure – Routines can help bring about a sense of control. To stop the days from feeling like they blend together, sit down with your kids once a week and make a plan. Create daily routines, brainstorm “themed days” to help create activities you can do together. This List is filled with fun ideas to get you started, from water balloon fights to nature walks to hopscotch contests! Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect perfection. Letting the kids have screen time or going to templates for ideas is just as useful as coming up with your own.
2) Stay Calm – Managing your and your kids’ stress is an important step to getting through difficult times. Try short, guided meditations together or on your own, and check out Articles and other Resources for quick tips to stress management.
3) Help Your Kids – As mentioned in our previous blog, Talking to your Kids About COVID-19, there are many things to keep in mind when helping your kids. This section of the Covid for Kids website offers articles and interactive resources on how to talk to your kids, how to support them, how to parent during the pandemic, and how to help them learn in their own ways. Every child is different. Talk with them, help them be part of the conversation and tailor your approach to their needs.
4) Get Support – Sometimes when things get increasingly difficult, they can be too much to handle on your own. If you need support, you can reach out to Front Door to help guide you in the right direction. Covid for Kids also has a list of GTA-Based Resources for mental health, crisis and other supports in the area.
Using these resources and creating an open dialogue with your youth can go a long way in getting through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, and hopefully make some bonding memories along the way.