As we are stuck at home with either Toddlers or Teenagers or little people in between, they all present with challenges. I have been emailing with employees who are now at home with their children and needing attention. I joked with them that I would gladly trade their toddlers for my teenagers. While we may think that toddlers need more interaction than teenagers, need games to play, activities to do, or general cuddling and holding, I am finding that teenagers may need some similar attention as well. Certainly not to the extent of toddlers or little people, but teenagers tend to understand a little more about whats going on in the world and it can make them a little more anxious. And although I am not an expert, I can offer a few pieces of advice (you know after being stuck at home for four days now with two teenagers, and everyone is still alive and kicking.) First they still need some of their independence. I have a college kid that is now stuck at home doing online learning through his college. Having to transition in a matter of a week to moving out of college, living at home and not going to physical classes hasn’t been easy. They still need to be hugged and be reassured that this isn’t permanent. I also have a second teenager at home who is a sophomore in HS who doesn’t know when she will go back to school or see her friends. Luckily in this day and age, most teenagers are connected via social media so they can see their friends and talk with them. Teenagers tend to have lots of questions about situations such as these and although most of us have never been through a pandemic (thank goodness), answer them honestly and directly. If you aren’t sure, there are sites such as the CDC, WHO and Johns Hopkins that have great information that is up to date. I am listing them below this blog or better yet, have them do some research and share it with the family. One very important thing I had to do with my teenagers after telling them both “no” to going out with friends, was what the ramifications are by NOT practicing social distancing. They both drive, they both want to spend this time with their friends. It’s hard and it’s affecting all of us, but my husband and I are modeling that behavior by not going out and being with people. There are many activities to do with teenagers and toddlers such as family meal time. Make sure that is an important part of everyone’s day, it’s been a great opportunity to have both teenagers home, no sports or other activities and getting to eat a meal together again!! We also instituted family game night where each person picks a game each night and we play together. Last night my daughter and I kicked the boys behinds in Euchre! Tonite its bananagrams, chosen by my son. My daughter and I usually lose badly to my husband and son who are both wordsmith people! And although it’s been a long time since I had toddlers or little people, create workstations around your house for them, such as a coloring station, a puzzle station and physical activity station. Schedule in downtime where they play by themselves with a book and maybe a little screen time or video time. Remember they are also uncertain during this time because mom and dad are possibly both home and it’s not the norm. I have also listed below a PDF sent to me by Health advocate on resources for online learning Many museums around the US have a host of online activities or are now putting their exhibits online such as the Baltimore Aquarium. So go check it out.
And remember to take some downtime for yourself! Take care and remember this is temporary!!!