Helping Kids Cope During a Crisis - Colliers Hill
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Helping Kids Cope During a Crisis

It’s hard not to think about, hear about, or talk about some aspect of the Coronavirus and how it’s impacting our lives. From the wall-to-wall news coverage to our ever-changing routines that necessitate frequent handwashing and mask-wearing, the attention paid to the virus is as pervasive as COVID itself. Here are some tips from the experts about how to reassure our children, and a few worthwhile diversions — from live animal webcams and celebrity bedtime stories, to teddy bear hunts and science experiments — to take kids’ (and our) minds off our circumstances, a little every day.

Facts, Reassurance and Routines

According to Jamie Howard, PhD, director of the Child Mind Institute, kids worry more when they’re kept in the dark so don’t be afraid to talk about it. Use this as an opportunity to reiterate facts and quell emotional exaggerations heard from others. Invite your children to ask questions and be calm and reassuring as you give them accurate information.

To that end, go to well-respected medical groups like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the American Academy of Pediatrics. Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, writing for the Harvard Medical School newsletter advises offering “just enough” information including how you catch the coronavirus and how to avoid it.

In addition to modeling calmness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) encourages parents to stick to routines as much as possible, since COVID is disrupting lives in a lot of ways. We can’t have kids sitting around in their pajamas, eating cereal out of a box and watching cartoons all day, says David G. Allan, blogging for Go Ask Your Dad. 

NAMI suggests getting up and dressed and eating breakfast at the same time every weekday, just like you did when going to school. You’ve probably already created a non-distracting area of your house for schoolwork, so imitate the school schedule by switching activities every 30 to 40 minutes. And stay connected. The social distancing mandates make it easier to stay healthy, but harder to enjoy the company of friends and extended family. Thankfully, we can use technology to make video calls and schedule virtual playdates. 

Dolly Stories, Dreamcatchers and other Diversions

Country Music legend Dolly Parton is launching a weekly bedtime reading series for kids during the coronavirus outbreak. Goodnight with Dolly, started on April 2 under the nonprofit Imagination Library which gifts free books to children around the world. The series will air once a week on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. EST for 10 weeks, with Dolly reading books like, The Little Engine That Could, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and I Am a Rainbow, written by Parton in 2009.

Children’s book author Mo Willems started hosting a daily afternoon doodle for the world’s children. And teddy bear hunts have become a global pastime aimed at distracting kids and uniting communities. The scavenge may have been inspired by a children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” written by London-based author Michael Rosen.  

NY Metro Parents came up with 20 things to do with your kids from crafting a dreamcatcher to protect kids from bad dreams, to making moon sand with baking powder, baking soda and dish soap. Other suggestions include gathering everybody’s old t-shirts to make a braided rug, or exploring science with an experiment to grow stalactites with baking soda, straws, pipe cleaners and yarn. 

Live Science has more science-oriented activities for kids, like taking cabbage leaves and food coloring to see how plants absorb water and nutrients through their stems. Or virtual dives into shipwrecks, seal playgrounds and coral reefs through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Keep that link handy for updates, because editors are adding new things-to-do to the site regularly, like learn-at-home websites. 

Penguins and Otters and Sharks, Oh My!

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA is closed to the public, but you can still visit its fascinating animals — from frolicking sea otters to stealthy sharks to glowing moon jellyfish — through 10 live webcams. The free webcams are available from 7 7 p.m. Pacific time, on the aquarium’s website.

Also offering live webcams are the Oakland Zoo, which has webcams for elephants, bears and other wildlife, the California Academy of Sciences, which features its coral reef, penguin exhibit, and a live webcam on the Farallon Islands, and the Ventana Wilderness Society in Big Sur, which showcases condors in the wild.

Family-Friendly Colliers Hill

The master-planned community of Colliers Hill is home to families of all ages and interests. We look forward to the next time we can play together, swim together and enjoy life together at the community parks and amenities. If you’d like to tour some of our model homes from builders like Meritage Homes, Richmond American Homes, and Century Communities, connect with the sales associates for private tours, or virtual tours. Available floor plans include ranch-style or two-story designs — priced from the high $300s.