Your local school has just closed. Now, you’re stuck at home with your kids for the unforeseeable future. Your children may be feeling anxious and unsettled. Or, they may view this as an extended holiday and time for playing video games and watching TV. You don’t want your kids watching TV all day, but you have to work from home. What do you do?
If you’re struggling to think of useful things for your children to do while they’re at home with you, here are three ideas to get your children writing, teach them gratitude and appreciation, and maybe just brighten someone’s day.
1. Write ‘thank you’ cards to medical professionals
Medical professionals are on the front lines during this coronavirus pandemic. They may soon be overwhelmed if they are not already. If you feel helpless, but would like to show your appreciation and support, encourage your children to draw pictures and write ‘thank you’ cards.
If you know someone who works in the medical profession, drop a card off in their mailbox. Or, mail a card to your local hospital or doctor’s office. Not only will this get your children writing, but it will also teach them to appreciate the sacrifices many are making in an attempt to keep us all healthy. This will give your children a purpose in these uncertain times and offer them a small way to help.
Hopefully, these ‘thank you’ cards will remind people in the medical profession how much we appreciate them. If you’re worried about transmitting germs via mail, you could even take a video of your children reading their cards. Then, send the video to your local hospital.
If you need some ideas for cute homemade cards for doctors and nurses, here are a few from Pinterest (if you click on the photo, it will take you to the website the card idea comes from). Remember, most people love personal drawings from children rather than fancy crafts so choose the option that best suits your child and the materials you have on hand.
2. Make cards or pictures for the elderly
Many older people in nursing homes may be feeling scared and lonely right now. Friends and family might not be allowed to visit. Some older people may not even have family members around to call them and check on them. Most countries are suggesting older people self-isolate. This is a great opportunity for children to spread some love and joy.
Have your children draw pictures and write messages of encouragement. Tell the elderly members of your community that you’re thinking about them. Have your children share their favorite jokes in a card. Kids love to tell jokes. Maybe these will bring a smile to someone’s face during these worrying times. You never know, your child might even find an elderly pen pal.
If your child is struggling to find something to say, consider sharing an inspirational or encouraging quote in your card. Talk about what it means with you child. See if they can their own thoughts to the sentiment.
The Pin below will take you to a fantastic website with messages of encouragement for the elderly.
We also love Kids Art Hub on YouTube. They have free, easy-to-follow drawing tutorials for children. Here is a video of a spring bouquet drawing tutorial:
3. Write a ‘thank you’ note to an emergency responder
Have your children write a note of thanks to an emergency responder like an ambulance driver, firefighter or police officer. They’ll be on the front lines of this pandemic dealing with serious cases and helping to maintain order in these unusual times. I’m sure a picture or card displayed in the local fire department or police station would remind them how much we appreciate their willingness to risk their lives for us on a regular basis.
Here are some cute ideas I’ve found on Pinterest. Click on the photo to go to the website to see instructions for the card, but remember to encourage your child to do some writing on the cards. If your children are young, simply having them label the card or drawing. If they’re older encourage them to write out a specific thank you message.
Click on the photo to take you to the website to get the downloadable printable for this one:
Limit your social media use
While it’s important to stay informed, it’s also critical for your mental health and the well-being of your family to limit your social media use. If you look at it constantly, you’re bound to feel unsettled because so many things are uncertain. Limit your social media usage each day. Set aside a few times during the day when you’ll check on the latest news from a reputable source and check in with friends. Set a timer so it doesn’t consume your entire day. Focus on being present with your family when you take breaks from your own jobs or tasks. Remember, there are things you can do to show your support.
There are things you can do right now
You may feel anxious or helpless right now. Your children will sense this. When the entire family is stuck at home, there’s bound to be tension. The best way to relieve it is to do something proactive to help others. Shift your focus and use this time for bonding, saying thank you, and recognizing all the valuable members of the community. Good luck! You’ve got this parents.
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