But there are ways to prevent that.
First: talk to your kids about why they aren’t in school. Be calm — be honest. Answer their questions, and explain the data that pertains to kids so they know that they’re relatively safe from the virus. If your child has an internet device — they already know the headlines, so fill in those blanks.
Second: build a structure for your kids to thrive within. Allow them their day or two to wake up late, but set a wake-up time and a written schedule that may mimic their school schedule would work (if you don’t know their daily schedule at school, find out).
Include movement activities (online yoga videos, and GoNoodle activities are fantastic), music, read books, and give them tasks to do around the house. Make specific times for educational items from school so it can be expected each day.
Whatever you do — remain consistent. A babysitter texting on your couch for several weeks will wreak havoc on their esteem and their brain, so if you’re required to work — assure whoever they’re left with remains consistent, too.
Third: stay calm; show love and compassion, they will be as stressed as you are. Limit news updates — but keep them updated and help them understand that this is not permanent.
Allow them to act out, or allow them to decompress and shut down, as they may not be able to process some changes.
Your children will grow up with the phrase “when the Coronavirus happened…”. You are the people who will help finish that sentence for them.
Be kind, stay safe, wash your hands, and take care of this community.
Jaime Bairaktaris is a Westport resident and volunteer EMS Crew Chief. He is the Connecticut State Department of Education’s 2020 Paraeducator of the Year and serves on the State Paraeducation Advisory Council through his work at Redding Elementary School.