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Many families now face new challenges on how do we care for our children while working and schooling from home and not panic during this unprecedented outbreak.  Start by taking a deep breath knowing that you are all in this together and you will get through it.

First Touch have a few tips to help you cope with this new normal until the virus is under control.

Sometimes it may be tempting to get the kids together for play dates or sleepover, but this temptation must be avoided as social distancing only works if we all participate to try and slow down or prevent the spread of the virus.

Remember some of your grandparents might feel alone or disconnect during social distancing, keep up communication through a regular phone call, video chats or texting.

Changes in your daily routine can be very stressful and it can be helpful to talk to your children and explain why staying at home is important and to help structure the daily routine. Let them help by creating a daily schedule and hang in on the refrigerator or somewhere they can see it each day.  It is important to include breaks from schoolwork or television in order to relax and connect with each other.

Maybe consider trying these:

  • On weekdays set your alarm to wake up the same time as during “normal” school and working days.
  • Set up an area for each one to do their work most effectively and without distractions,
  • For young children, 20 minutes of class assignments followed by 10 minutes of physical activities.
  • Older children will be able to focus on assignments for longer but try to take breaks between subjects.
  • On the schedule include your hours as well so that your children know when the workday is done.
  • Schedule snack and lunch breaks
  • Dinner together is great, giving the opportunity to discuss the day.
  • Keep your evenings to family time, watch a movie together, play board games or exercise together.
  • During the week stick with the normal bedtime routines to make sure that everyone gets enough sleep.

It is important to know what is going on but try not to have the news on all day.  It is best to watch the news while the children are not in the room as it may increase their anxiety and fear.  Should they listen to the news talk to them about what they are hearing and correct any misinformation or rumours they may hear.

Understandably screen media for children will likely increase – let you children keep contact with their school friends or other family members by letting them video chat to stay in touch. By using media together give you the opportunity to monitor what your older children are seeing online and following what they are learning. 

If you are working from home, take your child to work, without leaving your home, use this time as a chance to show your children part of your “work world”.

Staying at home and social distancing may feel like an inconvenience, but at this stage it is the best way to protect your family, neighbours and friends who may be vulnerable.

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