As a mother of a teenager I wanted to share what we are doing to get through this unique time in our lives. First, did you ever EVER think we would go through something like this? I keep talking with my son about this because I want him to understand when his kids are in school this will be in their history books, this coronavirus that affected the entire world, killing thousands. He is only seventeen and doesn’t understand all of it, but he does ask questions and watches the news with us. I want him to know what quarantine means to him and how it affects others.
Second, I need to express that like most American’s at first, I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. I was in Hawaii in Maui when I really started to get concern and was flying home soon. When I did get home, I have stayed home. Two days after I returned my son’s school closed, then the following week my husband’s offices were closed as well. We entered a new phase of our lives, working, schooling and living within the same 2,600 sq. ft. area. My home office is where I stay, my husband is at the dining room table and my son is in a spare room where we have another desk. We are working through it. But here is what worked for us:
- Each morning we wake up, coffee, breakfast or whatever works for your family, then we go to our respected work/school offices. My son has online school from 9am to 4pm so he does have an hour lunch break which we all eat about the same time anyway. I realize this is easier for us since he is 17 years old. But keeping him focused is the key. Within two weeks his phone, PlayStation and TV have been removed but returns when he get’s his assignments caught up. We have worked hard to help him stay on top of his grades and assignments.
- At lunch, I usually go for a walk with our dog, Moka. We do 2 or 3 miles to get fresh air and get out of the house. Exercise or fresh air is critical during this time.
- My husband walks after work with our neighbor around town, respecting the 6ft apart but it’s good that they are getting out.
- Our son has PE each day, so he does that either in the house or outside depending on when his class is.
- What works is we have STRUCTURE each day…we make our beds everyday and then start our day. Our “offices” in our minds is where we go to work, and work must be done. This structure is very important.
- We all cook or go for takeout, but we try and make it a family affair then we play a game or watch a movie. I think we are lucky because we like being together! Don’t get me wrong we have our fights but overall, we communicate and work through it.
- COMMUNICATION is key, telling each other how we feel. This is very important for your children to be able to talk through how the feel, what is working and what is not. Help them to be better during this time – it will help them in the long run.
- I am not the parent that had to “entertain” my son each day (when he was young), I believe that him getting bored helps him to be more creative. Believe me, I know the kids that can entertain themselves and the ones that must be entertained…. Which one do you want your kids to be?
- Family play time and family work time is very important for the kids to understand, as a parent, do your best to help them adapt to this new norm.
- ROUTINE is very important for most people (and more importantly for kids). So, start and stick with a routine, believe me, it will be so helpful one week after you start. It will be helpful when they are older too.
- WASH YOUR HANDS – I wash my hands a hundred times a day, which I am teaching my son to do the same. We spray down our work areas each evening and each morning, just to keep it safe. You will figure out what is best for you and your family but talk to them about staying and keeping themselves and their areas cleaned.
- LAUGH learn to laugh at yourself and the stories you hear from your kids. Laughter is the best medicine! Take them outside and play tag or play basketball or hide and seek, just laugh and have fun during this time. You will remember it always.
Third and finally, I hope as one parent to another some of these suggestions and tips will help you during this unique time. The coronavirus is scary but stay calm and keep it in prospective when discussing with your children. Read a book to your kids, start a new hobby or a new game. But be safe, teach your children to be safe and clean and most of all……quarantine yourself with your family for as long as it takes. It does save lives! Please be safe and healthy!!