At Palm Beach Children’s Hospital our Child Life Team helps children and families cope with hospitalization which often includes illness, isolation, stress, uncertainty and disruption of normal life. One way we help children and families through this by providing structure, schedules and a variety of activities.
With kids home from school during COVID 19 our child life specialists have provided some tips for parents.
- Keep a consistent schedule
- Include children in creating the schedule/ calendar and post it in the house
- Plan a variety of activities with your children
- Physical activities
- Learning/ school
- Creative activities
- Family activities
- Free time (limit free time)
Some examples of activities include:
- Taking a bike ride
- Homework packets
- Reading time
- Solitary play time
- Virtual tours of zoos and museums
- Baking or meal making
- Helping parents do chores
- A historical or educational movie a day
- Book reports
- Vision board
- Yoga – cosmic kids yoga
As long as you are having fun and providing structure you are doing a great job. It can be a challenge to juggle working from home and keeping your kids busy so remember to be kind to yourself and mix the day up with solitary and family activities.
Many parents at the hospital ask child life specialists about how to provide sensitive information to children. In the hospital setting this ranges from what do I tell my child about their Cancer? To what do I tell the siblings at home about their sister in PICU? With COVID-19 we have been getting a lot of questions from parents about how to talk to their kids about it. Our recommendation is to provide small amounts of age appropriate information and reassurance.
- Limit exposure to news and adult conversations about COVID 19
- Be honest and reassuring
- Keep information age appropriate
- Find out what your kids know and encourage them to ask questions
- It is ok to say to your kids “I don’t know” – and then you can find out together
- Explain that most people who are getting sick will feel like they have the cold or the flu and that most people who are healthy are getting better.
- Focus on what you are doing to stay safe