In a time of social distancing and stay home, stay safe ordinances, it can feel especially challenging to stay connected.
With help from Families Are Forever’s Director of Education, Trudy Landis, we’ve compiled a few tips and resources to help families stay connected and engaged in this unprecedented time.
- As the adult, be as calm as possible. A dysregulated adult can dysregulate a regulated kid!
- Limit media exposure (news on TV or social media.) You don’t need it 24/7, just once a day is enough to keep up—from credible sources only.
- Explaining the virus to kids can feel especially tricky as there are so many unknowns. Resources can like this or this can help.
- When discussing the changing state of the world, keep discussions brief, especially with kids or when they can overhear you. Use clarity and reassurance—keep it simple.
- Repeat assurances often. Dysregulation means fluctuating cognitive ability—we don’t hear and comprehend easily so repetition is necessary.
- Regulate, relate, reason – a sequential process we practice over and over as needed.
- Practice regulating activities – deep breathing, walks, stretching…every hour or so.
- Practice social distancing, not emotional distancing. Press into relationships.
- Keep life and daily schedules as predictable as possible. Give warnings for transitions. Use visual/picture schedules. Talk through what you ‘think’ the day will look like each morning. Be sure to say “I think this is what today will be like – but let’s stay flexible!”
- Familiar people calm and regulate us. Connect with others through FaceTime, Zoom, Marco Polo, TikTok, etc. Go for a social distance walk with neighbors and friends outdoors. Play chess with your friend – sending photos of your moves. You can have lots of contact without real contact!
- Serve others. Reach out to those who are alone. WhatsApp friends who live internationally. Call grandma and the cousins. Take in all the neighbors’ trash cans and wave at everyone through the windows. Write notes. Mow lawns, rake leaves, bake cookies.
- Meaningful doses of care don’t have to take a lot of time – texts, quick calls, voice mail messages – touchpoints mean so much.
- We need to find creative ways to stay healthy, connected, and content. We need to pray and trust the Lord, to exercise and stay strong to help others around us who are sick.
- Be supportive, understanding, and kind. Lots of people are probably not going to be their “Best Selves” during this time.
- Listen well. It’s hard to be frustrated with someone once you know their story.
- This is a great opportunity to re-weave our own family’s social fabric. Take advantage of this time with your nearest and dearest. Love one another. Remember that you are making memories.
- There are about a million free Pinterest ideas for families right now – games, movies, museum tours, etc. Do lots of these!
- Kindness and joy are not quarantined, but they are contagious.
You can listen to the foundation of this post, a podcast from Dr. Brue Perry, here.