5 Steps: When Kids are Missing Friends, Family and Freedom (Coronavirus)

School ending early is great news for most kids! However, as the days pass, they start to get stir crazy, especially being limited to home and immediate family. Moodiness, impatience, arguing and whining can creep in. How do you turn things around?

Step #1. Validate their feelings. When you see things going south, immediately sit down and acknowledge how your child is feeling. Let him know it’s okay to feel frustrated, afraid, irritated, annoyed, angry, overwhelmed, bored and even sad. This is not an easy time. If you have an extrovert/social child, he will have an even harder time, so be extra sensitive.

Step #2. Listen. Find out what the hardest part is for your child. Listen to every detail and validate what she is feeling. Share your challenges too (age appropriate). You are teaching her to have compassion and empathy instead of judgment.

Step #3. Spend time outside. Go for walks, hikes and bike rides. Explore new places in nature. Camp in your own backyard to change things up if you can. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, acknowledge the limitations and then get creative with what you can do. If you are working from home, see if you can break up your work day to fit this in. It will be good for you too!  

Step #4. Allow for quiet time. Your child may not need to sleep, but reading, resting, playing quietly and daydreaming are all great for calming the soul.

Step #5. Problem solve together. When issues arise, ask your kids for ideas on how to resolve them. They will have wonderful and creative ideas you would never think of. Letting them be part of the solution creates great leaders and a “team player” environment.

This season will pass and you will most likely miss some of the family time and slower pace. Your children can learn a lot from you that will ultimately impact their life, including marriages, parenting and careers.  

Some things to focus on:

  • – How can you deepen your family bond?
  • – What are some new and fun ways to connect?
  • – What stories of your childhood can you share?
  • – Love and undivided attention will go a long way.
  • – Talk about anything and everything your kids want to talk about.
  • – Snuggle every day.
  • – Allow your kids to express feelings openly.
  • – Explore new adventures.
  • – Grow together.

Practical ideas for activities:

  • – Movie nights. Alternate who gets to choose the movie.
  • – Puzzles, board games and cards.
  • – Finger painting.
  • – Hiking, walking, bike riding.
  • – Paint rocks found while hiking.
  • – Family karaoke.
  • – Family Band. (improvise with pots and pans, air guitar, etc.)
  • – Dress-up day. (old Halloween costumes)
  • – Camping in the backyard.
  • – Bowling. (use water bottles for the pins)
  • – 4 Square, dodge ball, keep-away, catch, etc.

It’s not easy to focus on enjoyment when you are not sure about your job, finances and other aspects of life. However, when these areas are out of your control, you have an opportunity to focus on what you can control, which is how you spend your time with family.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom to know the difference.”

(Reinhold Niebuhr)

May you rise from the ashes with a deeper family connection, meaningful experiences and a healthier family lifestyle than before.  

Traci Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her practical parenting style and can be contacted at 951-240-1407 or

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