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How Families Can Come Together During the Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the US, states and cities are issuing mandatory stay-at-home orders to citizens to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. For example, in LA, all nonessential businesses closed their doors, and citizens are abiding by a mandatory stay-at-home order. In Florida, Orange County officials recently issued a stay-at-home order, and calls for Governor Ron DeSantis to pass the same legislation statewide are mounting.

It's not just businesses that are closing their doors. Across the nation, schools are shut down, many of them for the rest of the year. Some schools continue to educate students via online learning platforms, but not all.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! During this time, families also have unique opportunities to strengthen their bonds and find new, fun ways to spend time together. While it’s important to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, retaining a positive outlook on the situation and making the most of more family time is also vital.

Do I Really Need to Keep My Children Isolated?

The long and short answers to this question are both "yes." There seems to be a common misconception that children, adolescents, and young adults are somehow immune to the coronavirus. While children and adolescents are less likely to contract COVID-19, they're not immune to it. Additionally, children who do contract coronavirus are less likely to display symptoms.

That's important because even asymptomatic carriers can still infect others. The last thing you want is for your child to contract the virus from another child who's an asymptomatic carrier and start spreading it themself.

It's crucial to follow the CDC guidelines for preventing coronavirus, such as regularly sanitizing surfaces and avoiding touching your face. Encourage your children to follow suit by making games out of activities (see who can touch their face the least number of times or clean the counters the best, for example). Practicing social distancing with your children can help ensure the older and vulnerable people in your life remain safe during this stressful time.

How Should My Family Handle the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make this time a positive experience for your family. There's a multitude of habits you can form and activities you can engage in to keep the family sane and happy as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses:

  • Adhere to a specific, day-by-day schedule. If you're married and have children, this is a hectic time. Unless you or your spouse are considered essential workers, your whole family is probably cooped up inside working and learning from home. Constructing a specific hour-by-hour schedule for the whole family to follow will reduce tension among family members and help provide your children with a sense of stability during a stressful time. Plan when and what you'll eat. Schedule a particular part of the day for playtime. Maintaining a consistent schedule will help the family stay sane and happy.
  • Don't be afraid to go outside. You should practice social distancing, but that doesn't mean you need to avoid the outdoors entirely. It's vital for children to get out regularly. Schedule walks in the morning before you start work. On the weekend, try and find an isolated hiking trail you can take the family to and explore nature for a few hours. Getting out consistently will break up the monotony of staying at home.
  • Have an education plan in place for your children. If your children are already receiving online education from their school, you don't need to worry about this. If they aren't, it's important to ensure they continue receiving an education. Schools should be open by the start of the next school year, and you want to make sure your kids don't fall behind academically at this time. Consider investing in a reputable online learning program. If your child loved a certain teacher, ask them about tutoring. If you don't want to spend money, find appropriate textbooks online or at a library and homeschool your children if you can. You want them to stay sharp during this time.
  • Explore virtual entertainment. From zoos with YouTube channels and live streams to educational videogames to online music teachers and hobbyists, there's no shortage of fantastic virtual entertainment online. Talk with your children about picking up a hobby, such as learning to dance or playing guitar, and find a virtual entertainment resource targeted at that hobby.
  • Try out virtual playdates. Social distancing doesn't mean your child needs to cut contact with their friends. Get in touch with other parents and set up playdates over video conferencing platforms like FaceTime and Skype.
  • Spend more time with your kids! This is a great opportunity for families to come together and form stronger bonds. Cook meals with your children. Find an online class the whole family can enjoy (art and fitness classes are fantastic). Try to come up with new games for your children. Spend time playing board games and reading together.
  • Ask other parents what they're doing. Stay in touch with other families at your school! You'll be able to organize virtual playdates for your kids and ask other parents how they're handling COVID-19. Coming together with other parents and pick each other's brains for parenting strategies that can benefit the whole community and create strong relationships between families that will carry over into the next school year.
  • Make time for yourself (and your spouse). At the end of the day, you need quality time with yourself to remain mentally healthy. Carve out some time to spend alone or with your spouse. You'll be a better parent if you take some time to rest and relax.

Although this is a trying time, there are plenty of ways you and your family can have fun and strengthen your bonds with each other. Understanding how you can take advantage of increased time with your family can help reduce stress and make this time a positive experience for everyone.

Need an experienced, compassionate family law attorney? Contact us online or via phone at (954) 280-6119 to learn more about how we can help.