Advice to parents during the 21 day of staying at home.

Making the most of staying at home; make it a time to bond and remember, not a time of fear!

  1. Young children need routine and predictability to feel emotionally safe. Most children are used to the routine of pre-school and school. My advice is to keep the routine of bedtime, bath time, outside play time, device time for young children.
  2. Young bodies need exercise and play as part of their feeling of wellbeing and to use pent-up energy. Alternate indoor play with outdoor play, and join in the trampoline, swimming or ball play with your children, it is good for parents and wonderful bonding time.
  3. Sensory play is essential for young children and can be fun with mum and dad joining in: *Make your own playdough, and be creative with the children.
    * Do finger painting outside,
    * Experiment with face paint: think of the fun to paint mum or dad’s face!
    * Make bowls of jelly to feel, and to eat and make a tasty mess outside.
    * Fill a big bowl of soapy water and use straws to see who can blow the biggest bubbles.
    * Make simple cookie dough with your child, roll out, make shapes and bake: all children enjoy ’Bak en brou’!
    * Plant seeds or seedlings, plant beans in egg boxes, let your children help you outdoors and tap into their creativity
    * Older children can be part of mum or dad’s ‘’cooking team’’ and help to prepare meals, even if they just draw a menu, put flowers on the table.
  4. Creative play: Use the empty cardboard boxes: cereal, medicine boxes, shoe boxes ; cut out doors, windows or glue and tape together and help your child create a house, a car, a space ship. Get the whole family involved!
  5. Beware of too much time spend indoors on devices- not only children; but parents as well. We have enough research available to show the negative effect it can have on the young brain. Read stories, or listen to audio books with your child:
    https://stories.audible.com/start-listen Follow this link to free, wonderful stories that the whole family can listen.

The most important advice during this time: Our children take their emotional regulation cues for us as parents. You are the child’s co-regulator. If your anxiety is sky-high, your child will pick up on your emotional cues and will struggle to regulate! See to your own emotional wellbeing: Remember the metaphor of the oxygen masks in an airplane: first see to your own emotional health to enable you to see to your child’s health and wellbeing!

  • Take time to pray, be still with God and share with your child your spiritual insights in a child—friendly way
  • Do your diaphragm breathing that will help calm your Amygdala and do this with your child, there are many fun ways to help your child with calming down through ‘belly breathing’’.
  • Experiment with mindfulness, a wonderful way to be in the here and now, instead of being anxious about ‘what can happen’…
  • Exercise with your child: Create an obstacle course in the house or garden with your child in the garden, if they are old enough, add hidden clues. Find an exercise program online to do regularly: Pilates, MAP, Yoga are all beneficial for parent’s wellbeing.

God bless and protect each of you!
Carien Muller

South African COVID-19 Portal