Just for Now: Part II – Some Tips for Parents During COVID-19

1“Just for Now” is a way to frame this for ourselves and our kids to make this time more manageable. We are experiencing all this stress, having to cancel most in-person activities that involve friends and extended family, and it’s “Just for Now.”
2Just for Now is a time that we prioritize our health and safety, and at the same time harmony in our homes.
3Just for Now, our usual conflicts could be set aside, or minimized; it’s worth a try.
4Just for Now, kids might blame themselves if someone gets sick for the times they didn’t properly wash their hands, or socially distance enough. Tell them it’s not their fault.
5Just for Now, the underlying personality/issues of your children will probably predict how they respond to the crisis.

  • Anxious children will worry more.
  • Depressed will isolate, sleep, withdraw and maybe be more angry.
  • Children who avoid/deny their emotions will think you’re overreacting to take measures to keep them safe.
  • Children with OCD tendencies will have trouble feeling like they did enough to sanitize themselves and their environment.

6Just for Now (and maybe other times ☺) it may be hard to manage children’s big emotions. Right at the time they will be having them. (see above)

  • Schedule time for them to have “gripe sessions.” Set a timer and listen to your child. This is uninterrupted time for them to say anything that’s on their minds. Don’t comment about the content.
  • Make a list of things they can do that are safe and appropriate to express their anger, worry, sadness. Rip up a magazine, yell loudly – and you can even join in, bang pots and pans, etc.

7Just for Now, you might be tempted to relax limits and boundaries because you feel badly for your children. Children need limits and boundaries to feel safe, particularly when the outside world is so chaotic.

As much as possible continue activities and habits that are important to children’s development:
  • Healthy foods
  • Exercise
  • Regular chores
  • Homework
  • Family time
  • Social time – even though it’s all on screens, it’s ok, just for now. Still track screen time usage and make sure to enforce limits.
  • Purposeful activities
  • Mindfulness, meditation, or just some quiet time
  • FUN – encourage them to make a list of fun activities they would like to do with and without your help.


About Karen Fried PsyD MFT

Karen is the co-founder and co-director of The K&M Center, an educational therapy center in Santa Monica, California.
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