Silver Linings in This Coronavirus Storm

As much as we all love to have family time, this new and unplanned break from work and school is not exactly what any of us requested. However, the coronavirus is no respecter of anyone’s plans. It’s time to take it very seriously in order to stop its ruthless march around the globe and into our communities and homes. Given our commitment to social distancing, what can we do to find the silver linings in this coronavirus storm?

Take Care of Yourself

Just as every flight attendant has reminded us, “Put on your own mask first.” If you’re not able to breathe, you can’t possibly help your children and other loved ones. Please take the time needed to manage your mental health during this time of stress and uncertainty. This tip sheet suggests ways to care for yourself. Knowing what actions to take is very empowering. Follow the guidelines issued by state and federal disease prevention experts and practice social distancing.

Talk to Children

As Mr. Rogers said, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

  • Yes, adults need to explain the coronavirus to children. It’s important to do this calmly and use brief, age-appropriate explanations. Here are two helpful sources for how to talk to kids from ChildMind Institute and the CDC.
  • Teach children how they can be germ-busters and help fight the coronavirus. Developing habits such as handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and getting plenty of rest can empower kids to keep themselves and others healthy. Use PBS resources made especially for kids.
  • Read or listen to this coronavirus “zine” just for kids. Print it, make it, and read it together.

Indoor Activities to Grow Minds

Being cooped up inside together for days can result in boredom and frustration. But it doesn’t have to! I must agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” One silver lining is that this unexpected gift of time can be used to do things that you didn’t have time for when you had strict time demands.

  • Set the kiddos up with earphones or a speaker and have them tune into these teacher-recommended podcasts for kids of all ages. This article also includes activities to go with each podcast series!
  • Take kids on a virtual trip to visit the most amazing museums around the world. After each “visit,” have them identify their two favorite pieces and draw their version of each.
  • Make your own zines. Watch this video about making a zine and have family members create their own zines to read to each other.

Outdoor Activities to Get Out the Wiggles

“The world is big, and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark,” said John Muir, “Father of the National Parks.” Although are travels are limited these days, we can still have a good look at the outdoor world. Plus, children who play outside enjoy many health benefits, and adults can help kids be active outdoors.

  • Set up a simple outdoor obstacle course using empty boxes, pieces of lumber, blocks, pots & pans, or whatever else is available. Then, have them take turns timing each other as they run, hop, crawl, crabwalk, or spider walk through it. Award prizes.
  • Take a nature walk around the neighborhood or on local trails. (For now, avoid playgrounds where coronavirus can be transmitted.) Equip each hiker with a pencil and notebook to record their nature observations. Look for signs of spring, animal habitats, or count the variety of plants or animals sighted. Compare your notes after the hike. Take the same nature walk each week and compare the number of sightings week after week.
  • Plan a garden. Use math skills to measure out a garden plot and space the seeds and plants. Use art skills to draw the garden plot with the plants in it.

Activities to Teach About Puberty

These days of togetherness at home provide a perfect opportunity to teach children about families, puberty, and what it means to grow up to be a healthy, respectful, and responsible person. Sadly, “Parents aren’t sex education experts just because they are parents,” as Pepper Schwartz writes. So, parents and other trusted adults can always use some help and resources.

  • Read together or let your child read on their own, I’ve compiled lists of books about puberty that you might enjoy.
  • In order to support parents and other trusted adults, I’ve written many blogs about puberty education. Check them out here.
  • Watch these videos that are made for kids ages 8-12 by Amaze. Amaze Jr. has a whole set of videos for younger children ages 4-9. Don’t miss their resources for parents.

Silver Linings Summary

Please know that you are held in my heart and mind as we all navigate this coronavirus storm. As we are forced to slow down and simplify our lives, we have an opportunity to look for the silver linings. My hope is that our collective actions to enact social distancing will minimize illness and reveal silver linings that we will want to continue once we weather this storm. Please contact me if I can support you in some way.