There is no doubt about it; we are in unprecedented times.
But how we conduct ourselves over the course of the next few weeks will determine whether or not this particular period in our history is marred with chaos and disorder.
This might be an unprecedented time in our lives but not in the history of mankind.
We have had many such experiences down through our short history on this planet - the bubonic plague, typhoid epidemic and the Spanish flu to mention a couple.
But we have always prevailed, and we shall again.
It is very important that we show our children how to manage themselves over the uncertain weeks ahead.
Children look to their parents for how to react to stress, so when the example they are receiving is one of panic and distress it will significantly impact on how they experience and react to Covid 19.
How to enjoy the next few weeks with your children:
1. It is important to reframe this experience.
When do we ever get this time with our children?
So reframing this experience so that we begin to see it as an incredible opportunity to spend quality family time together is a significant shift of perspective that is needed.
If you are in a constant state of worry and alarm you will not enjoy this time with your family and in fact you will only worry and stress everybody in the family unit. So change how you view this current situation.
This is an opportunity to truly be with your family.
We are not on the verge of annihilation; scientists are working tirelessly to resolve the issue. And they will succeed.
Remember, extensive worrying about it will not change the outcome it will only ruin the present for you and your family.
As I’m sure you are aware, I am not an advocate for games but these are new times and it calls for a new way of being together.
I have always informed parents that modern multiplayer games have a social dimension to them.
Therefore, your children will be looking to game more than ever. And it is important to understand that the old rules must shift a little during these times.
I have spoken a lot about boundaries in this column and I’ve always said a healthy boundary is capable of moving slightly.
So now the boundary you had in place around the games needs to move slightly to allow for the peaceful coexistence of gaming and family life while Covid 19 is a reality.
But they should not be allowed to game all day long.
Remember; this is not like a snow day. We do not know for sure when we will be returning to our normal routine.
But a new routine needs to be put in action, so the earlier that falls into place the easier it will be for the children in your house to follow.
It is much harder to bring in a boundary once they have fallen into a routine. So, if they are currently gaming all day; you must bring in a boundary around it.
Because they will be going back to school and normal life will return but if they have done nothing but play games they will be behind all the other students.
Bringing in a sensible routine that allows for them to communicate and play games with their friends and also do their schoolwork is going to make for a peaceful and happy home during this time and more importantly make the transition back to normal life less problematic.
3. Family fun:
This is a time for the family to really pull together. So, come up with a daily routine that allows for, schoolwork, gaming and spontaneity.
Board games, cards and telling stories could really lift the mood in the house. Allow your child to pick a game for all the family to participate in. This will get them to buy into the activity.
It is very easy to think; ‘ah, they’’re teenagers they won’t want to play games.’ But they are also interpreting this experience and they need moments of levity too.
So, family time that is light hearted and free from talk of Covid 19 will help to ease tensions and will show them that you are also at ease.
4. Don’t allow all conversations to be about Covid 19:
Regulate the time you watch the news.
If you have young children, record the news and watch it when they are in bed.
The news is flooded with negative narratives about this virus, protect your children from it.
Speak to them in an age appropriate language and promote hope.
As I said, these are unprecedented times, but not in the history of humanity.
This is an opportunity to show your children how to cope with stress.
They will look to you for guidance.
You have to ask yourself the question; do I want my family to be tense, overwhelmed and filled with stress over the next few weeks or do I want them to enjoy this time together playing games and sharing in the complicity of this unusual time so that when normal life resumes, which it will, they will have positive memories and have learned the true meaning of resilience?