I hope this finds you all well and that you are able to feel some sense of "normal" in your life as a family as we begin a new school year. I am happy to back at Holy Cross for my 33rd year as your school counselor! Time goes by so quickly.
I will once again be available to the Holy Cross family on Tuesdays and Thursddays from 9:00-11:30 a.m.
You can reach me by calling the school. If I am not available for your call please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Below, please find some "tips" I put together to help you and your children handle discussions regarding these confusing times.
How to talk to kids about coronavirus:
- Age 5-10: Grade school kids are ready for an explanation, so help them get perspective. They need to know this is a passing crisis, not doomsday, and you shouldn't make dark jokes and trust they'll hear and enjoy the sarcasm. If they're fearful ask what they have heard so you can address those fears.
- Ages 11-15: Some tweens will be deeply worried; others will resist having to stay inside when they are feeling healthy. Tell them this: "I know you want to hang out with your friends, but we are part of a community, and we have to protect others in our community." That should be adequate.
How to entertain kids while quarantined:
- Keep a schedule. With schools shut, it's tempting to let kids park in front of the TV, but unstructured days can be a source of stress. Try using a dry erase board to post an agrenda: reading time, playtime, screen time, naps etc.
- Assign chores. Children as young as 3 years old often enjoy sharing adults' responsibilities, such as fetching and sorting laundry, settiung the table, unloading the dishwasher. Have your older children assist with meal prep too.
- Encourage video-chatting. Kids' lives rotate around social gatherings. Apps such as Face Time, Zoom, Google Duo, or marcopolo.com, can help them keep in touch wiht friends, grandparents etc. Video-chatting can also foster collaborative play, if say , two tkids what to draw toigeh to share their work.
- Promote artistry. Short on sketchbooks? Look in your closet, old magazines and wrapping paper can be collage/art materials.
- Look for time consuming toys. Puzzles and board games are great, and Legos encourage imaginative play that can last for hours.
- Unfortunately, play dates are not a good idea right now. If your child insists ib socializing with neighborhood kids, they should play OUTDOORS, one or two friends only and sanitize any shared toys shuch as basketballs, bikes, swings etc. Do not gather in parks, etc.
I realize these are difficult times for you and your children. Please try to stay positive in your talks with them and allow yourself to have a "break" once in awhile if you can find a quiet spot in your house! Try to make sure everyone gets adequate sleep.
As always, you and your wonderful children are in my daily thoughts and prayers.
Terri Nicholson, LCPC School counseling consultant