Like many of you, the Amputee Coalition is monitoring COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) as it continues to evolve day by day. As a nonprofit health advocacy organization, we want to communicate and engage on emerging health news responsibly. We realize that with social distancing and “shelter in place” orders, we have all had to adapt to our new normal. This “normal” includes school closures and parents and caregivers working from home which can be a big change in family dynamics. We have compiled resources from the American Psychological Association (APA) and other trusted sources below to help families with children in our community cope during COVID-19.
Strategies to Ease Stressors
- Don’t overdo media consumption. It is important to keep up to date with the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. However, oversaturation of information can add to stress. Identify a few trusted sources for accurate information and try to limit social media.
- Talk to your children and other family members about the pandemic. Your children are watching you and notice changes in your behavior and changes in their routines. Children may have difficulty expressing their feelings during this time and may exhibit this frustration with challenging behaviors. Answer their questions honestly and assure them that your goal is to keep everyone safe.
- Check in with your child’s school and teachers to learn how each are managing service delivery. Some school systems are offering online or telelearning options. You can find tips on homeschooling your children here.
- If your child has a chronic or acute medical condition, see if your child’s healthcare provider is providing telehealth options. Your child’s healthcare provider can also help you determine the best way to obtain needed equipment, supplies, medications, etc.
- Take breaks when you can. Respite and relaxation options may no longer be available during the pandemic. This might mean stepping outside (if you can) for five minutes for fresh air and sunshine or watching YouTube videos to give yourself a short mental break.
- Try to stay connected to your family and social groups virtually. Technology allows us to connect in a variety of ways. Phone calls, texting, video chatting, and email are just some of the ways we can stay connected during this time of social distancing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. The Amputee Coalition has a nationwide network of support groups, which are moving to more virtual meetings, as well as Certified Peer Visitors that can conduct visits via the phone or through the Amputee Coalition Support App, which is available via the Apple Store and Google Play.
- Reassure your children
- Try to create routines in this new normal. Most families are experiencing a disruption in their daily routines. Children are reassured by structure so, if you can, attempt to create new routines for your children. Routines can also be helpful in introducing new behaviors into their daily habits-such as the proper way to wash your hands and behaviors in line with social distancing.
- Encourage your children to talk about their feelings or come up with creative ways in which they can express their feelings. Creating artwork or journaling are two different ways in which a child can express his or her feelings in a constructive way. And, just like you are experiencing isolation from your family and friends, so are your children. Brainstorm with your child the different ways they can stay connected to friends and family via phone calls, texting, and video chats.
Creative Activities for You and Your Children
In this time of isolation and social distancing, parents and children are together almost 24/7. KidsOutAndAbout.com has created the resources below as ways to keep you and your children (both separately and collectively) occupied during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Virtual/Online Classes
- KidsOutAndAbout.com has created a database of classes that kids, teens, adults, and families can take online. Parents can take classes to brush up on school subjects to help their children. There are several subjects that your children can take which could add some structure to their disrupted routines. Some of the courses listed have a fee associated with them but many of them are free!
- Virtual Experiences
- During a time when we are all practicing social distancing, events and experiencing must go online. This list is available for ongoing or anytime virtual events with a variety of topics and subjects.
- Creative Ways to have Fun
- With everyone home during the pandemic, it can be difficult to come up with creative and inventive ideas for keeping everyone occupied. You can find a list of 250+ creative ways to keep your family sane during the COVID-19 pandemic here.
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.
This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90LLRC0001-01-00, from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
© Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.