Here are five ways you can interact with your children and with the community around you — in a positive way.
The coronavirus is affecting families and communities globally. Across Canada, most kids are home from schools and daycares, and are not participating in their usual activities. We have all seen those popular and appealing colour-coded schedules for keeping kids busy at home. Sticking to them is another story entirely.
We are all doing our best to keep informed, maintain social distancing, and stay home. We will get through this together. Here are a few suggestions on activities to do with kids that could help keep them entertained, and maybe boost their mental health along the way.
1. Make signs or pictures to place in your window for passers-by
In Italy, kids started illustrating signs with the Italian expression for “Hakuna Matata”: “andrà tutto bene,” which translates directly to “everything will be alright.” In Canada, people have started putting rainbows up as a symbol of a brighter future. You can encourage kids to join the rainbow campaign. Help them make signs with rainbows, hearts, and messages to let people know that we are all in this together.
2. Read books about generosity and making a difference
Remind kids that we are all helping each other right now, by staying home and maintaining social distancing. We put together a list of books on being generous that can help spark the joy of giving to others. These days, that could mean kids giving up their valued time on the soccer field or at the ballet class. And those things are important and generous.
3. Dream about what the future will look like
Give your kids space to place their dreams for the future. Take two jars or old pots, whatever you have around the house. Make one for things that kids can do today (e.g., clean their room, organize a doll wedding, read a book). Make one for things they can do once life has returned more to normal (e.g., meet up with friends, go to the movies, volunteer at their local senior centre).
4. Be a part of science in your community
Did you know that you can participate in scientific research by the Government of Canada? The government is looking for citizen scientists to contribute to a number of projects, like identifying bird and plant species. Kids can take part from their computers, their backyards, or their nature walks. It’s simple to sign up online and give kids a sense of accomplishment while they are taking a break from their go-to activities.
5. Take a moment just to breathe.
Focusing on mindfulness and practicing meditation can help build skills for more resiliency, among both kids and their parents. Find a meditation to follow online to get you started, or simply ask your kids to take a moment to breathe and notice their thoughts.
This situation hasn’t been easy on anyone and it’s important to check in with your loved ones. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned this week, the Canadian government has invested $7.5 million for more counsellors and trained volunteers with Kids Help Phone. Youth can reach out for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by text at 686868, phone at 1-800-668-6868, or online at kidshelpphone.ca.
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