It’s back to school and we are in a frantic! It’s back to early rises and packing lunch and the crazy rush out the house, into the car and into the school yard. We are frustrated as parents at the on again off again nature of this pandemic. As much as there’s very little in control around us… can the kids just get with the programme! Or can they?

We have been dealing with a lot of pandemic stress in our home and more so when the changes are happening so rapidly. What we take for granted often is that kids, like us, need time to process change and process this on and off.

We are back to school… again… but there is still some caution we need to practice. It can all be confusing. So I would warn against us placing hard and fast rules but rather focusing on the needs children have as they grieve the old and need to adjust to this time we are in.

In the book Fully Human by Steve Biddulph, he writes “A huge grief is made up of many little griefs, And that is how we can survive it. One piece at a time.” It might seem to us our children are acting up or just not getting on with things but they could be grieving… find out what the need in that moment is.

So let’s get into some of the ways that I’ve been navigating the stress that the pandemic has caused my boys. And I know there are many parents out there that are still trying to find ways to manage the ripple effects of the Covid pandemic on our children.

Answer questions about the pandemic simply & honestly.

Talk with children about any frightening news​ they hear. It is OK to tell them that people are getting sick, but we need to remind them that following safety steps like hand washing, wearing their masks and staying home more will help your family stay healthy and safe. We need to remind them that they are part of something bigger now and we need them to be heroes in beating this horrible virus.

Keep in touch with loved ones. 

Children may also worry about their grandparent who is living alone or a relative or friend with an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Allow them to talk it out. When safe, physically distanced visits aren’t possible in some cases, video calls can help ease their anxiety.

Schedule virtual meetups or playdates with their friends

Use whatever technology you have available (Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) to virtually meet up with those you love. If your kids are missing their friends from school or best friend from down the street, work with parents to arrange virtual playdates. Arrange safe and social distanced playdates where possible and children understand the concept – painting or craft dates are amazing.

Make “me time” for everyone in the home a thing

“Me” time is important for everyone in your home to practice.

Set aside time every day for your kids to do something for themselves or have quiet time in their rooms, and during this time, treat yourself to something that will help you relax.

Do a 30 minute meditation (there are amazing helps with guided meditation), eat your favourite snack without having to share with your kids, or stream a new episode of a TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

Encourage some journaling. Kids can journal in picture form, ask them to draw how they feel.

Swap out the Social Media and News overload with some fun apps and games

This can be tough for some people because scrolling through social media is often seen as a way of relaxing. But the constant exposure to the worries over COVID can be harmful and children may pick up on our anxiety. So try insert moments of calming and regulating into your routine.

As children get back into the classroom, we will be super worried about them and how they are coping. Let’s also be considerate of the pressure teachers are under as they manage your child’s school day and their own family’s. Where you can, check in and ask how you may be of support. We are inundated with daily work, and playing pandemic catchup, but we need to remember we all went through the MOST! Kindness won’t miraculously heal things but it is certainly a catalyst to our overall healing.

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