Raising a family and caring for children can be stressful. Nope, who am I kidding, it is stressful! Then add the current situation with COVID-19 will surely raise your anxiety and stress levels, you're only human.
While it seems that we are just getting on with our new 'norm' with homeschooling, routines and the safety precautions at home, we now add social distancing as a must.
With most of the group gatherings in sports, lessons, park districts and even public
pools are taking detours, it's important to be following the rules and guidelines. Introduce your children to Healthy Hippo! Kids relate to the Characters of Character and are more apt to listen to what they have to say, than what mom or dad keep on preaching. I'll help you out, listen to a story, make a paper bag puppet and even discuss healthy habits, like brushing your teeth, eating healthy and choosing a delicious apple! Visit Character Corner to do all of the above mentioned!
Children learn from our own behaviors, what we say, what we do and our actions, so it's important to be a constant positive role model. As an adult, while frustrating at times, it's important to wear a mask, to constantly wash our hands and to keep our distance. This takes care of our-self and is taking care of your family. However, it's vital for you to slow down, manage your anxiety and find that fine line of balance as we parent, because as the old cliche' goes, "ain't nobody happy if mama ain't happy" and that goes for daddy, too.
Healthy Hippo has some suggestions for you, the adult:
First, celebrate the wins! While the children are going through major changes, too no matter how big or how small the daily challenges are, at the end of the day, you made it! Stop to take it all in and feel proud of your accomplishments and reward your children's, too. And, remember, it's OK to not feel OK, this is a lot to take in for so many of us.
Next, be sure to ask for help if you need to. One of the hardest things to do for so many of us is to ask for help at any given time. Remember to check in with friends, to continue your support groups and if you're able to, use an online platform for visual appearances, it helps make you feel like you're out there in the world, social distancing and all! Remember that you are not alone, we are all in this together and there are so many online platform's which you can utilize.
Then, try to slow down. Become aware of the moments. Take this opportunity to snuggle with your children, watch that move you keep putting off, play that game you couldn't find time for, get in the kitchen and bake and keep talking with your children, your spouse, your friends, keep the lines of communications flowing. If you're like me, your kids might say you have coffee breath, snuggle anyways, you don't want to watch the movie your child has seen ten times already, watch it anyways. The game they choose may be boring to you, but, it means everything to your child. You might not be the best baker, bake anyways. Ask your kids what their favorite cookie is, or google some fun things to bake with kids or look on Pinterest, who doesn't love Pinterest!? Take this opportunity to make memories, I feel there is a lesson in this Pandemic, stop to look for the good in it, don't keep complaining.
If you do find yourself overwhelmed, and you will, you're no different then the next guy! Stop and take a deep breath, let your worries fall to the way side, become mindful of what is actually happening around you, and if you don't like it, like your attitude, change it. Don't beat yourself up, just regroup if you're having a hard time.
Finally, be sure to take time for yourself. Set aside some alone time, if you can regroup in 10 to 15 minutes, take them. If it takes you a little longer, so be it. Just be sure to do it. Be kind to yourself because well, truth be told, somebody else might not take the time to be kind to you, and treating yourself with kindness will flow through you like a blooming fresh flower! These are tough times, and yes, this too shall pass, so, less stress, more rest and do your best.
Remember, YOU are like a SUPERHERO in the eyes of your children, so, take time to rest, take time for yourself and know that there are support groups and other online platforms for you to participate in during this challenging times. I speak as an adult, while our kids are all grown, we never were exposed to anything quite like this COVID-19, however, in any stressful situation, it's important to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of others.
Make a little Craft Corner for your kids to go to when they feel creative. Encourage them to express their feelings and their thoughts in a healthy fashion, too. I've created Character Corner and we're still adding to it, so be sure to share this with your own children and family to engage in our character building lessons. A child will relate to the characters and embrace the message, model the trait and all you have to do is.........BREATHE. Be well, Stay safe. Ms. Joni
A fun activity would be to make a Manners Monkey headband with your child! Make one for yourself, too and write polite words on the headband itself. Read these words with your child and explain what they mean. Then, write them on their headband and every time they use polite words give them a sticker or perform a polite action, again, give them another sticker. They will soon become just like Manners Monkey!
We hope you talk with your child about good manners. Below are some simple ideas to teach them:
1. To be a role model
2. To use polite words at home
3. To use polite words in conversations
4. To use polite words when you are talking on your phone
5. To be polite wherever you are in your language and your actions
Something as adults we sometimes seem to forget is the fact that our children are listening to what we say, they are watching what we do and they want to be like us when they get older. It's so important to be a role model for your child for you are the one they look up to first.
Encourage your child to write a letter to any of the Characters of Character. With a S.A.S.E. the character will write back and they will become Pen Pals!
Who doesn't wish there were a magic wand to just get us through the task at times?! I know it's crossed my mind at times. However, the older I get, I can appreciate the journey. There is always a lesson to be learned during trying times and during the good times. It seems we focus on the trying times which makes the good times seem far and few between. In my opinion, I just can't emphasize enough that when you don't give up, don't throw in the towel, look for the light at the end of the tunnel, it's a feeling you want to embrace all the time. As Do'er Duck says: '"NEVER GIVE UP"
How do you teach a child the importance of this trait? First, you have to believe that it's important, then you have to model this. It's really alright for your child to see you struggle with something, and it's even more important that they see you persevere through it, to see it through to the end, that you aren't one for quitting, this is what they will internalize. Just remember to use clean language through the trying times of it all!! They are good listeners, too and seem to say the same things you do!
Here are some thoughts to help teach a child perseverance though Do’er Duck who teaches our children to ‘NEVER GIVE UP”
1. Be patient
2. Be an encouragement
3. Introduce small challenges to that they, extending their comfort zone
4. Share a story of yourself during a time that you persevered
5. Take a break if you must, but, do not quit
Through perseverance a child will internalize the feeling of accomplishment and perhaps look forward to the next challenge in life knowing that they will give it a try. Teaching our children these vital core values shapes them into their own character and helps them to gain a deeper awareness to develop these positive character traits.
As an educator, I love to encourage building communication skills, literacy and imagination in our children. Allow your child to write a letter to their favorite character and with a S.A.S.E. they will get a response. We can become Pen Pals!
First, we hope that you and your family are healthy and staying safe. Wishing you a Happy 4th of July weekend! Characters of Character is seeking out a simple review from a platform we use called Great Nonprofits. It'll take only a few moments and is greatly appreciated. Please help us become recognized through the work we do to help make a difference in the life of a child Thank you. Click here.
And, if you've done any of the activities with your children, feel free to share pictures and comments. Here is our youtube channel or you can see us on line at Character Corner. Thank you! I pride myself in this truth from a comment from Rhonda Bellevia, she nailed it!
Joni has dedicated her life to this incredible and much needed organization, Characters of Character. With so many youths dealing with the stresses of today, it's comforting to know that Joni's creative approach enlightens these children into realizing that they aren't alone with their thoughts, needs and dreams.
You can read more here.
Your review is also welcome on our facebook page which also helps spread the word about our misison, "to make a difference in the life of a child"
Married with children since 1981. Love working with children and sharing the Characters of Character.