The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting everyday life in a multitude of ways. Restaurants and bars are closed, grocery shopping has become a matter of strategic planning, and almost everyone now has a face mask on whenever they leave the house. On top of all of this, schools and daycares have had to shut down. This means that children are now at home every hour of every day, without any activities get them out of the house and entertain them.

Many parents who are now stuck at home with their children are facing the challenge of creating a sense of normalcy in these very abnormal times. To do this, you’ll likely need to adjust your parenting techniques and be open to creative ways of solving quarantine-specific problems. Let’s take a look at the best tips for parenting in the time of coronavirus.

Create a Daily Schedule

Kids who attend school are accustomed to their weekdays having a set schedule. They know that they have certain classes at certain times, with lunches and recesses sprinkled throughout their days. Without this sense of structure, some children may start to exhibit behavioral issues or anxious tendencies.

By creating a new weekday routine for your children, they will know what to expect from their day and this will help enhance their sense of control. Remember to include times for waking up and going to bed, meals, activities, chores, schoolwork, reading, and art. You can also involve your little one in the creation of their schedule so that they can feel excited by a routine they helped create.

Encourage Self-Expression Activities

News of the spread of COVID-19 is on every channel, newspaper, and billboard. Just as you may feel anxious about the pandemic, your child may be having similar worries. However, children won’t understand the intricacies of the situation like adults do. This can create a greater sense of fear or worry in your child that could be affecting their mental health without you even knowing.

To help your child express any fears they have and better process what this quarantine means, encourage them to communicate through means other than talking. Some of the best self-expression activities include creating art, making music, or doing some role-playing. Children will often communicate what they’re feeling or thinking through these creative mediums more openly than they do when just talking.

Stay Active

The days of quarantine can seem never-ending and tend to turn into a monotonous blob. The key to fighting this monotony is to keep your family’s minds and bodies active. This doesn’t mean that you need to craft an elaborate itinerary of fun and creative activities for your family every day, but it does mean that you should spend an hour each day doing a unique activity.

The activity you choose for each day will depend on your family and their preferences. For kids who love to be involved in the kitchen, you can spend an hour baking cookies one day and an hour making pasta from scratch the next. Older kids may want to spend time developing their skills. If your child has a penchant for leadership, you could find an online leadership coaching conference for them to watch or encourage them to read a book on admirable world leaders. Whether your child loves to learn and read or can’t get enough of the outdoors, there are activities they can do every day to keep their passions alive.

Practice Mindfulness

This is a great tip for children and adults alike. In uncertain times like these, everyone needs strategies to help cope with the stress of being cooped up inside. The adults in your home are likely feeling stress for other reasons too, from worries about their financial situations to anxious thoughts of a break-in occurring while everyone is at home. A home burglary occurs every 13 seconds in the United States and some homeowners are worried this crime could increase in frequency as people become more desperate to make up their lost income. If thoughts like these are preying on your mind, you need to employ mindfulness techniques just as much as your kids do.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness. One of the best ways is deep breathing. Find a few deep breathing exercises you like online and share them with your family. Some of them focus on letting a specific number of breaths in and out and others involve raising your arms to create a whole-body breathing experience. Other mindfulness techniques include meditation, yoga, drawing, and reading. Find ones that work for your family and schedule time into your day to practice them.

The COVID-19 quarantine won’t last forever, but yours and your children’s memories of it will. By making intentional parenting choices that are designed to enrich your lives during this pandemic, your whole family can have memories that are more positive than negative.