Many of us will remember this quarantine for the way it completely changed our daily routines for such an extended period of time. Sometimes it can seem nice to get out of our daily routines for a short time, but I think most of us would agree that quarantine has provided us with too long of a break from “normal life.” Routines can seem boring, but the situation we are in is certainly teaching us that they are essential. Our routines help us minimize uncertainty in life. They lead us to place ourselves in situations we are comfortable with and know how to handle.
Many of us are realizing that routines are even more essential for children than they are for us. Children have less of an understanding of how to deal with unfamiliar situations than we do, so they are more stimulated and uncomfortable in these situations. This lack of understanding is ultimately what leads to the meltdowns that we try to avoid.
Unfortunately, many of us know that meltdowns can happen in response to transitions much smaller in scale than the one we are experiencing now. This is why it is important for us to make ourselves aware of the potential for meltdowns during this time. Simply accepting that quarantine may present changes that could result in a meltdown is a productive step towards managing meltdowns at this time. Doing this will help us avoid added frustration when a meltdown occurs, and it could help us better understand the cause of a meltdown. It is also important, however, to have some sort of management plan for quarantine meltdowns.
Here are some important dos & don’ts to consider when trying to manage meltdowns during quarantine:
Don’t try to implement a new behavior plan at this time. We must remember that change is the fuel for meltdowns. Behavior plans are only successful if they are given adequate time to be implemented, and we are currently in a situation that is only temporary. Keep this in mind, and don’t risk “adding more fuel to the fire.”
Don’t allow your frustration to impact your actions. Frustration can cause our actions to become destructive rather than constructive. This is why accepting the potential for meltdowns at this time is so important. When we expect something to happen we become less frustrated when it actually does happen.
Do try your best to mimic your child’s daily routine before we were under quarantine. This can be difficult when it comes to certain activities, but with creativity and attention to detail there are ways we can make children feel more in-tune with the schedule they were used to following.
- Have your child watch ESP virtual programming during times of the day that they would normally be at ESP
- Have your child complete any schoolwork during normal school hours
- Try your best to keep your child’s diet & meal times consistent
- Keep bedtimes consistent
Doing this will also help you and your child transition back into your routines once this period of quarantine has ended.
Do use your child’s favorite activities to teach them that change is not always bad. Most of us have more free time on our hands during quarantine than we had before. Use some of this free time to help your child do things they like to do. By doing this you will strengthen your emotional connection with your child, and give them opportunities to realize that good can come from situations they are not familiar with.