Though they are generally joyous, the holidays can be a stressful time of year. Every family is different, and while you might be happy and merry, your neighbor might have a hard time. But issues could also be closer to home. And handling your teens over a Covid holiday period could make the transition to the new year a little more stressful than usual.
Discuss Visiting Plans
Divorce and separation is a stressful experience for everyone involved, especially children and teens. Divorce rates currently sit at around 48% in the United States, and not much more or less in other countries worldwide. One of the most damaging aspects of divorce is custody battles, which can devastatingly impact the kids. Torn between two parents, children will have a difficult time choosing. Therefore, you can lighten the burden by arranging fair visitation between the children and your ex-partners, such as fixed days or a 50/50 share.
Among the isolation and reduced contact between households during the pandemic, it’s essential to stay active and bond with teens. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to let your teens play on their games consoles. And while there is no harm in this, you must encourage and plan some outside time for mild exercise and fresh air. A stagnant lifestyle will cause muscle problems, while indoor air can be more polluted than the outdoor air in an industrial area. Additionally, no sunlight could result in a vitamin D deficiency. Just 10 minutes per day will provide enough.
Take an Interest
A pandemic scenario means more time spent with each other. For some families, this can be frustrating. Sadly, this is evident in the sharp increase in domestic violence over the past two years. However, you can try to get along with sometimes difficult teens by taking an active interest in what they do. More time inside means more opportunities to get to know your teens. Whether they like to play Fortnite all day, build new computers, or study spiders, imposed lockdown and restrictions mean you could have more time to bond that you didn’t have before.
Explain What Might Happen
Although we haven’t entered another total lockdown, it’s not beyond possibility at this point. The Omicron variant of Covid is spreading fast, and governments worldwide are encouraging a third vaccine dose and booster jabs. For children and teens, the prospect of another lockdown is frightening. But you can help through uncertainty by explaining what might happen as we enter the new year. Possible scenarios include a complete lockdown (similar to last year), a partial lockdown, or severely reduced services. Unfortunately, because of the proximity of students, reduced services are likely to include the school systems and colleges.
Make an Education Plan
The effect of Covid-19 on education is nothing short of a disaster. Almost 2 billion children of school age are affected by the pandemic. As a result, many schools have closed for long periods, with some kids missing out on vital learning for necessary tests like SATS in the US and GCSE in the UK. But you can counteract missing education by adapting your home for teaching where possible. It might be tempting to let your kids play games or do fun activities, but time is the one thing you cannot get back. Therefore, you should encourage the kids to do schoolwork while away.
Mental health issues are at an all-time high, and lockdowns exacerbate the feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Teenagers are no different. And with the added weight of an uncertain educational future, teen students might need a little more encouragement than anyone else. Although it may be challenging, encouraging communication in your children plays a crucial role. Feelings of social belonging and acceptance are as vital as food and water for living a healthy life. If they don’t want to talk to you, perhaps suggest they speak to a friend of a loved one using social media, video communication, or instant messaging.
Have a Family Time-Out
Covid-related restrictions don’t come and go quickly and are likely to last for an extended period if introduced again. The extra time away from work and school makes procrastination a tempting option. But you should be careful about shirking responsibility and duties. It might be helpful to hold regular family meetings where everyone can express how they feel about what is happening. Times like this are to be treated as a fair and respectable activity, giving everyone a chance to speak, not interrupt, and discuss all opinions and views amicably.
Buy Only What You Need
Although shops will unlikely close, most retail stores and service industries might. And just like the first lockdown, there are plenty of food and sanitation items for everyone if nobody panic-buys. Unfortunately, some people hoard essential things like food, toilet paper, and hand washes in quantities more significant than required. This leaves many without the items they need. Be careful not to panic-buy essentials if a lockdown is announced. When other people may need certain things, it is irresponsible and selfish to stock more than your family requires.
New channels such as CNN and Sky provide regular updates on Covid. The government’s advice can be found in the news, which will keep you informed. Your local government will also deliver official briefings, advice, and Covid guidance through these networks. Although it’s looking unlikely, our best chance for avoiding another lockdown is to heed government advice and take care of one another. At this point, we simply don’t know, but you can get ahead of a situation by staying informed. Try not to believe social media talking heads and listen to official advice.
Be Safe and Well
Omicron is highly transmissible. It spreads through saliva, sneezes, and coughs from the mouth and nose. Avoiding close contact is an excellent way to prevent the virus from spreading through the air. Wear a mask when you are around others and ensure your kids do the same. Even if your family is already vaccinated, Covid booster shots provide a higher level of protection against the new variant. To prevent contracting Omicron, you should book a free vaccination or booster as soon as possible for your entire family. It’s quick, painless, and will save lives.