Family Dynamics In The Age Of COVID-19

No doubt you are feeling some stress from the COVID-19 situation. While doing our best to make the virus disappear with social distancing, hand washing etc., it has changed our day-to-day dynamics and routines. One area that has come up repeatedly, is the panic in parents’ voices about how unprepared they are to have the schools unexpectedly closed. Unfortunately, society has “evolved” to a point where families are socially distant. School, work, activities, homework, housework, sports, our days have become whirlwinds of activity but not much communication. One of the tenets of Lifestyle Medicine is building strong relationships. Rather than feeling “trapped’ by upcoming restrictions, look at it as a time to reconnect as a family. Get to know your kids as individuals and learn their personalities. To this end, I asked my friend, teacher, and mom, Heather Cudworth, to write a guest blog that will hopefully help you achieve this goal.

Family Together Time by Heather Cudworth

As a public school teacher, turned stay-at-home mom, turned homeschool mom, if there’s one thing I learned about managing children, it’s the power of having some sort of schedule to keep the day flowing along and allow for together time and alone time, active time and quiet time. What you’ll want to do depends upon your circumstances and your children’s ages, but I’d suggest something along these lines:

1. Quiet reading or play in their rooms
2. Get dressed and have breakfast
3. Do schoolwork if they’re assigned any, or you can assign some from the links below (which is more fun, because you can do the activities with them!)
4. Play break, outside on the lawn if possible so that they can run!
5. Lunch
6. Read a book together aloud. If they’re old enough, pick a chapter book to read aloud together or to listen to on Audible. If they’re little, have a couple of story books.
7. Quiet Time — Naps for the little ones and quiet reading/writing/art or finishing schoolwork for the big ones. Break time for the parent to accomplish other things!
8. Play break — active play encouraged.
9. Clean up and help get supper ready.
10. Supper
11. Family fun time — Play a game, build something, do an art project, watch a video together, go for a walk, etc.
12. Get ready for bed.

Once you get them used to the routine, it should go fairly smoothly, and the more you’re really involved in their activities, the better things will flow. This is not the time to be on your phone or computer unless you absolutely have to be. Children, even teens, really need their parents and crave their attention, as much as they pretend not to. If you use this opportunity well, you may build some of the best memories of your children’s lives, and make your biggest impact upon who they grow up to be, in these weeks together at home.
Here are a few links:

100 Ideas for Family Fun at Home (mainly non-electronic)

If your children’s schools aren’t providing assignments right now, here are a few resources:

This site was thrown together quickly to allow people to educate Preschool and up for free and since it was put together so quickly there are some spelling errors etc. that the content creator acknowledges: A Better Way to Homeschool

Tons of idea links on the internet

Printable workbooks to keep them busy

Free educational websites for kids