SURVIVING COVID-19 QUARANTINE WITH TEENS!
It’s April 2020 and your teenager is normally in the final stretch of the 4th quarter. If your child is a senior, they would be wrapping up their high school career planning for graduation parties, prom, senior picnic, and all the excitement that would be to come in the next few weeks. They probably would be trying to absorb every moment they can by spending time with their friends who they know they might not see when June rolls around and graduation day is behind them. The COVID -19 pandemic has ripped all that from them and after recently speaking to many adolescents in my practice, that is exactly how they are feeling. Disappointed, sad, nervous, bored, and frustrated sum up their emotional state at this time. Normally when teens feel this way, the cure is to talk about their feelings with friends, stay active, stay connected, and above everything DO NOT ISOLATE! Yet being quarantined in the house for months has forced them to do just the opposite!
4 WAYS TO SURVIVE COVID-19 QUARANTINE WITH YOUR TEENS
1-Model calmness- Children and teens often look to the parent in order to understand how nervous they should be about a situation.
2-Limit the news- It’s ok to keep them informed but to keep the news programs on all day long can increase anxiety.
3-Validate their feelings- “I know that you must feel disappointed and sad about missing prom. I’m so sorry that is being taken from you. Is there anything I can do to make this situation even a little better for you?”
4-Stick to a daily routine-Teens should be incorporating at least 1 activity in each category to their daily routine:
A HOBBY (or activity that they normally enjoy.) This could be:
· Watching TV-Teens love to binge watch Netflix!
· Listening to music
· Playing an instrument
· Video games
· Social media - (if you allow this) lately for teens this means Snapchat and Tik Tok. I’ve recently been told Instagram is no longer as popular. Who knew? I can’t keep up!
· Movie night- WARNING!! They might fight you on this. Give in and tell them they can pick the movie. You might want to get up midway. DON’T DO IT. Take one for the team.
· Family walks - This might be a stretch. But it’s worth a try. No?
· Scenic drive - If the above doesn’t work, throw them in a car and take them for a drive. It is a fact that teens communicate better when they don’t have to look you in the eye. Try it. I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
· Establish Routine-There’s a reason I left this for last. Most don’t want to do school work but they know they have to. You don’t have to be up their butt but you do have to make sure they are completing their work on time and sticking to some sort of routine.
**REMEMBER kids thrive on structure and routine, they just don’t know it yet! School provides this. HINT HINT! Don’t bother asking them if they are completing their work. This will just annoy them and wake the irritability monster which is the last thing you want to do when you are stuck inside with a teen. Parent portals were created for a reason-check daily!
Don't be hard on yourself and don't be hard on your teen. This is new and foreign to all of us. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just stay the course!
STAY SAFE, STAY HOME, and REMEMBER, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS!”