“We are facing an unprecedented situation,” says Andrés Casares, pastor of one of Compassion’s church partners in Ecuador. “A pandemic that does not allow children and adolescents to visit their beloved ones, participate in church activities [or go] to school—but maintains the digital connections that make it possible to access information.”
Like many of Compassion’s church partners, Pastor Andrés and his staff are working hard to address the emotional struggles they are seeing in their communities during the pandemic through things like daily workshops and video calls with children and their parents.
Lockdown can be tough on kids in a lot of ways. Here are five tips to help your kids cope and thrive during these periods of isolation.
1. Establish a routine.
It’s tough to set a schedule when things seem to change on a daily basis. But creating order—even in the small things—will give your kids a sense of stability amidst the chaos. Stick to a set time for meals. Set the same chores or tasks for each day of the week. Create a predictable evening routine. Make plans for your weekends, even if they’re minimal. Pray together.
2. Talk about it.
We want to protect kids from the stress of life. But kids often absorb their parents’ stress, especially if it isn’t addressed. Instead of avoiding the tough stuff, take time to answer their questions in an age-appropriate way. Be honest, but hopeful. Assure them that God is in control and that you are there for them.
3. Use technology wisely.
Our devices are amazing assets that help us stay connected and allow us to learn and work virtually. But they can also affect kids negatively, inhibiting focus and impacting sleep quality. Whenever possible, create limits around how often your kids are on devices.
4. Stay connected.
It may seem like conflicting advice, but staying connected with others is just as important as limiting screen time. Whether kids or adults, extroverts or introverts, we are social beings. Your kids are probably feeling just as isolated as you, if not more so. Be deliberate about scheduling regular phone calls or video chats with friends and family so your kids can stay connected, too.
5. Go play—together.
Easy to say, right? But you probably need to play just as much as your kids do! Make activities like playing board games, working on puzzles or making crafts part of your regular routine. This will give all of you the chance to relax, laugh and get creative together.
Establishing a sense of stability and safety for every child in seemingly small, everyday ways can help a child develop resiliency, feel safe and continue to thrive.
Do you have any other ideas for how to help kids cope with isolation? Share in the comments below!
Note: Isolation and instability affect everyone differently. If you think your child may be dealing with a serious mental health issue, we encourage seeking professional support.