As the unprecedented pandemic has badly hit the normal life of everyone and looking forward to the precautionary measures against Covid-19 infectious disease, people have been urged to stay home as much as possible.
This can be a rather stressful situation, as families have to manage much more time together, which can sometimes add to tension and lead to conflicts. Nonetheless, this can also be a good opportunity for all to nurture their family relationships that can be a pillar of support for them in managing the stress during this challenging period.
Here are four tips to help nurture family relationships:
Set routines and structure
The COVID-19 scenario has moved out acquainted work, home and school routines. These changes are often distressing and frustrating for adults, and kids and teenagers are not any exception. Helping them to set up new daily routines and structure at home during this time can help children and teenagers know what to expect as well as feel a sense of comfort and safety. Some ways include:
Drawing up schedules to structure the day’s activities. Have a schedule for all members of the family, not simply kids and teenagers. Determine what the activities are and wherever these activities are done to stop any miscommunication or conflict over the use of space and items at home.
Setting daily routines like hand laundry and exercise routines. Exercise routines at the beginning of the day will help relieve some stress for everybody and expend energy from your extremely energetic children/ teenagers!
Provide positive attention
The COVID-19 situation can be stressful for children and teenagers, who may have difficulties regulating their emotions and behaviours. This can sometimes make getting along at home, challenging for one another. Providing positive attention to your children or teenagers can be helpful in building a healthy relationship with them. A close and supportive relationship provides a foundation for children and teenagers to share their thoughts and feelings, as well as seek support from you when needed. Ways to provide positive attention:
Catch your child being good. Provide attention and descriptive praise when you notice your child or teenager doing something good. (E.g. “That was really responsible of you to clean the area after doing your art!”)
Make time for quality family time. Where possible, schedule in time to do activities together as a family.
Manage conflicts positively
Under usual circumstances, family conflicts may happen from time to time. Even more so, under the stressful COVID-19 situation, it is natural that conflicts in the family may arise. Parents and caregivers can manage a conflict positively by:
Responding in a calm manner. Talk to your children or teenagers in a calm and assuring manner.
Acknowledging emotions. Help your children to identify and name their emotions. This can help them to calm down and feel heard and understood. For example, you could say, “It makes sense that you are feeling angry because you can’t go out to play now.”
Taking time to calm down. We tend to respond in a reactive manner when we are upset and feeling intense emotions. It can be beneficial for family members to pause and take some time to calm down before addressing the issue at hand together.
Communication and connection
Have a “check-in time” at the end of the day for family members to gather and share their thoughts and feelings about the day.
Teenagers may not be as comfortable talking with their parents or caregivers. Consider different ways for family members to share their thoughts and feelings (e.g. drawing, texting or writing, sharing a song they have chosen that represents their thoughts or feelings for the day).
Play and crafts: – Play card games and board games together.
Culture and exploration: – Virtual tours of museums, zoos and theme parks
Plays to watch together with pre-schoolers to teenagers
For children, workouts inspired by popular characters
Search YouTube for workout videos:
Workout with songs that your child/teenager likes.
Take care of your well-being
Children and teenagers often look to adults in their environment to learn how to respond to various situations and their feelings about them. As such, parents and caregivers serve as important role models to their children and teenagers in managing emotions, such as anxiety, stress or worries about the current COVID- 19 situation. Being able to regulate your emotions and manage your stress enables you to have the capacity to nurture your relationships with your family too. To do that, you will need to first take care of your own physical and mental well-being.