It seems like way back in December of 2019, many of us in the United States of America watched the Coronavirus take China by storm. Never, in our wildest dreams, would we imagine that covid-19 would find itself ravaging our own communities. If someone told me that I might be missing my daughter’s 8th-grade graduation and the graduations of other family and friends, I would have never believed you. We are in a new day of video conferencing in lieu of birthday parties and gatherings. While no one is happy about having to miss important milestones, most of us realize that staying home is the only way to keep our loved ones and neighbors safe.
Our children, who have a more narrow scope of the world are likely to feel robbed of the opportunity to partake in the ceremonial aspect of graduation. Similarly, many parents have watched what feels like a time-lapsed video of their child turned young adult work so hard to get to the culminating point of their education, high school graduation, since as far back as they can remember.
 
Socialization, an essential life skill, is a large part of what children learn within a typical school day.  School schedules, structured play and lunch rooms are designed intentionally to promote conversation amongst peers. Children who are not socialized with peers have a tendency to become withdrawn and may show signs of depression or anxiousness.
 
If you’re feeling at a loss for how to give your children back some of what being quarantined has taken away, here are a few helpful tips.
 
  1. Plan virtual gatherings instead of in-person meetings.
 
My daughter celebrated her birthday 10 days into our State mandated stay in place order. Her sister celebrated her birthday a month prior. Anyone who has had the pleasure of having same-gender children 2 years or less apart, knows that birthday parties must be equal in nature or no one in their house will be at peace.  
 
Being quarantined was completely a new ideal and I was absolutely terrified to have to leave my home in order to get anything for her birthday. As parents, we do what we have to do to make our children happy.  We even got to virtually party with friends and family that live too far away to have celebrated with us in person. The party was a complete success and she was so happy!   If you would like to learn more about how to plan a virtual party, send us a comment in the section below and we will put up a post showing step by step instructions on how to plan the best virtual party ever.
 
  1. Put a positive spin on the situation for yourself and your children.
 
We miss our friends. We miss our old life. We complained about Monday mornings but what wouldn’t we give to be sitting in traffic on our way to the office right now. If we are constantly complaining about being stuck in the house and modeling how miserable we can be to our children then they may internalize our thoughts and feelings as their own. The human brain is not fully developed until about the age of 25. accordingly, most children do not have the emotional intelligence or the cognitive ability to be able to fully process everything that is happening in our world when it comes to the effects of the Coronavirus.
 
Our children tend to see the world through their caregivers’ eyes;  good, bad, or indifferent.   Instead of being unhappy not having the ability to physically touch my loved ones, have a dialogue around how fortunate we are to be able to call or video conference our loved ones because the world has slowed down. Children are like sponges, they soak in everything around them. What are you pouring into your children for them to soak up?  
 
As adults, we are aware that this situation will not last forever, although it may feel like it has been forever. Children may lack perspective and hearing constant negative thoughts from caregivers, news sources or otherwise may prove to be emotionally taxing for youngsters. It is imperative to take on the mantra that “thoughts become things”.
 
  1. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children how to Pivot.
 
A large part of how we are teaching our children how to respond to being quarantined, or many situations in life, has to do with our mindset. Along with a positive mindset, it is also equally important to teach children that life happens. Teaching resilience and flexibility are important skills that children are going to need to tap into for the rest of their lives.  
 
A buzzword in business nowadays is “pivot”. Businesses who made clothing prior to March of 2020 are now churning out masks for essential workers and manufacturers have changed their scope of business to be able to produce much-needed ventilators. Life does not always go as planned. This is a real-life example that we can turn into a teachable moment for our children to learn how to adjust to life’s lemons.
The effects that covid-19 will have on our society will be emotionally, physically and financially astounding for years to come. How we choose to respond to hardship will, in large part, determine how quickly we are able to recover from it.  
Chambrie P.