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Mental Health First Aid Kit : Families

Parents can feel excessive stress nowadays being with the Coronavirus isolation. Not only do some of them have to carry work from home, they also have to have little ones to care for and worry about.  It’s the stress of being with their children while having to work. It’s not easy but learning how to manage your time with work and activities for them can help in the long run. Here are 10 tips you can do with your family during this self-quarantine and help keep Coronavirus stress to a minimum. 


Try a toy rotation. This is where you pick a few toys for your child to play with then put the rest away. After a week, switch out the toys for the ones that have been stored. They will feel as if they have new toys.


Get outside.

This may be counterintuitive with the self-quarantined highly advised to stay home but you can still get out for some fresh air. As advised, maintain social distancing, avoid any playground equipment and wash your hands thoroughly after returning home from outdoor play. The smell and sound of nature alone can help decrease any Coronavirus anxiety that you may be experiencing. 


Play “ I Spy.”

This is a game that has been played for ages. It just never gets old! With toddlers, you want to keep it simple such as, “ I spy something green.” You can even have them close their eyes so they don’t see where you are looking. 

Use Sidewalk Chalk.

If the weather allows in your hometown, use sidewalk chalk. Draw squares with numbers and play hopscotch. Or, trace one another’s outline. 

Some of you might be thinking “Matt, I have teenagers at home. How do I get them to engage?”


Teenagers are a lot different from toddlers since they want to be independent, with their own friends and keep to themselves. However, this is a stressful time for them as well as prom gets cancelled and SAT’s are on hold. There are some things you can do to engage with them as well as make a few exceptions for them. 


Again, go outside.

Teenagers need just as much fresh air as you do. Take them out for a walk, talk to them and get to understand how they are feeling during this pandemic. This brings me to my next point.


Engage with them outside.

Take some time to play sports outside with your teenager. Play soccer at the beach, go sightseeing or just go for a jog for 20 minutes. Let them know that they are just as important to you and that your quality time together is valuable to you.


Help them out with homework.

Since most schools will be out for a month, they probably have a lot of homework and projects to catch up on.  If you can, help them out and make it easier on them unless a certain assignment restricts adult help. 


Allow them to be with their friends.

This is where you may need to make an exception for them. It may be too much to be surrounded by family and homework. Let them be with their small group of friends but advise them to be safe and take precautionary measures such as, washing their hands and using hand sanitizer when need be.


Have a family movie night…often.

We don’t know how long this pandemic will last. Therefore, you may need to have a collection of movies or shows to watch as a family. Gather up food, snacks and drinks and cozy everyone up. When my family gets together, we like to watch Fuller House…even though season 5 ended…good times just don’t last (sigh).


Bake together!

It’s a known fact that baking brings families together. Bake a few desserts with your family. Bake cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies or brownies. Decide on something that could be a 2 or 3 person job. 


Ultimately, I hope that this gives you some ideas on what to do for the first week. Eventually, you will change your routine and be a bit flexible as the weeks continue. We don’t know how long this will last but we know that we have to focus on our families, work and most importantly….ourselves. We at, Counseling on Demand, are here for you during this existential crisis. Have a look and contact us today!


“The only thing to fear is fear itself.” ~ Franklin D Roosevelt

I am the Founder and CEO of Counseling On Demand with a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with over 25 years of experience in helping Individuals, Couples, Adolescents, and Families who struggle with a wide variety of Life's Challenges. I thus have developed an Array of Effective Counseling Tools and Evidenced-Based Interventions to help you towards Your Road to Better Mental Health and Wellness. You are Never Alone...I look forward to meeting with you or your family member soon!