PEORIA, Ill. --
The new normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic can make it difficult for families, friends, and community members to maintain healthy relationships. The stay-at-home and physical distancing requirements may feel overwhelming for families and isolating for friends and communities. Here are a few tips that can help you and your family get through this time we live in.
PARENTING AND FAMILY LIFE
Balancing parenting and family life during a pandemic can be challenging. Use these tips to help navigate and maintain a healthy family dynamic:
• Set weekday schedules: Keep the same weekday schedule for self and families. For example, schedule breakfast and lunch at the same time each day.
• Find new routines and embrace uncertainty: Accept that disruption happens even with preset routines and adapt existing family routines for the new normal, like saving time in the day by keeping meals simple, but healthy.
• Manage screen time: Manage screen time, as prolonged exposure to news and social media, might negatively influence the mental health of everyone, especially children and young adults.
• Spend quality time together: Enjoy fun activities together, like watching a favorite TV show or playing board games. Be sure to be fully present during the activity and remove distractions like phones.
• Consider counseling: Consider virtual family or spiritual counseling services to maintain healthy relationships, including Military and Family Life Counseling Program, Family Advocacy Program, or Chaplains.
• Practice faith and spirituality: Enjoy a time of prayer or meditation together to create a time of connectedness. Families can find creative ways and activities to practice their faith together while at home
CHILDCARE AND HOMESCHOOLING
As distance learning and homeschooling present new challenges for parents and families, consider the following tips to navigate the new normal.
• Designate a schoolwork space: Set up a schoolwork-specific area for children, including combining schoolwork space into the home office for parents, which may prevent the chaos of switching rooms frequently.
• Take turns: Alternate working and monitoring children’s distance learning or childcare between parents/guardians if possible.
• Accept support: Accept virtual help from relatives, including grandparents, who may enjoy reading to young children or helping older children with assignments. It’s a nice time to bond and gives working parents a break.
• Use virtual tools: Use available online tools for help in homeschooling, including Tutor.com, which is available for free to service members, civilian personnel, and their dependents.
• Check in with kids: Create designated times to talk and check in with kids who may need particular care and attention during this time.
• Use available resources: Use resources to help with childcare and homeschooling, including Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Digital Library or Department of the Air Force’s Personnel Center’s Airman & Family Division.
Have a great December and we will get through this together!