What do you and your family need during a time of pandemic? What challenges do you face to hold your family in spiritual, physical, social, and material health? Unitarian Universalist values, practices, and virtual connections can support families in new ways at this time. Explore ideas here.
I often go to bed during this pandemic wondering if my heart can hurt anymore. Then I wake up and see the news and my heartache continues. I wonder what to say to my children.
What do I say to my little one, versus what I say to my teens about the state of our country? How can I keep some sense of normalcy in their everyday lives when I just want to scream and shout and cry in pain, sadness, and anger? And how can I explain to them the gravity of our current state without also sending them into despair and hopelessness?
My five-year old is autistic and has more love and life and laughter than anyone else I know. How do I share things with her without snuffing out her light? I’ve chosen to call this time of COVID-19 as “the sickness” with her. We also refer to it as “the time of sickness.” When she asks about going to the beach or wonders why she can’t go inside grandma’s house, I remind her that it’s “the time of the sickness” and we will go when it is safe to go. We talk about keeping our loved ones safe and healthy and how we all make sacrifices so that everyone can be safe. We honor her frustration and we do fun activities and that is as much as I chose to share with her at this point because I feel that is enough.
The other two in my house are thirteen and sixteen. I want them to understand the full gravity of the pandemic and the race tensions. I want them to understand the police violence and the injustices. I want them to know how the pandemic affects communities in different ways. I share with them my hurt and my pain and my anger. I let them see my tears. I ask them to think and reflect and share their own feelings. We talk about what they might share with their grandchildren when they reflect back on 2020 years and years from now. We talk about where they see us going as a country, as a family and as part of the Unitarian Universalist faith.
Some nights I sit in my yard at my fire pit and stare at them through the window. Not in a creepy way but in admiration. We can have these difficult conversations and, moments later, they’re engrossed in a video game or laughing on the phone with friends. We also sit around the dining room table playing games and laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. And yet, inevitably, one or the other will crawl in my bed late at night, the tears streaming down their face. Sometimes words come with the tears and other times we sit in silence with the weight of it all pinning us to the bed.
These times are tough. I want to live fully and presently in the moment. I want to understand and embrace. I want to challenge and love. I want to be present for the full complexities we are facing right now and I want to press on. I want to have hope. I so desperately want to have hope. And I feel spending all day, every day in the house with my three kids, allows me to go to bed each night with a glimmer of hope as I kiss them all goodnight. With all that is pressing down on us, they have hope. They share their dreams for our country and our world. They believe in humanity and in our ability to come together and I hold on to their hopes and dreams in my own desire to one day have hope again myself. But for now, I kiss them, I hold them tight and I am grateful for the gifts they give me.
Find more UU wisdom for parents and caregivers in this time of pandemic and racial trauma, in the UUA's LeaderLab Library.
In April of this year, in Washington DC, my Aunt Mae learns that she has to fight an aggressive cancer that is overtaking her blood system. She is shipped to a low-standard hospital, rather than to the better hospital closer to her home. Her three daughters, all essential health care workers reliant on public transportation, now have an extra stress as they must get their Mom safely and as comfortably as possible to each of her appointments on time.
The specter of the COVID-19 virus hangs continuously in the air and challenges my ability to have my worth and dignity honored. In this pandemic season, we can ill afford to lower our defenses. We must remain crystal clear about the disparities affecting the lives of black and brown communities of which we UUs of color are a part. While I live in a mostly economically secure New York City neighborhood, in the ethnic richness between my Asian and Hasidic neighbors, I share community with the people of color who make a majority in the city’s less comfortable and less well-served neighborhoods.
Folks believe that this pandemic is impartial to race. Really…? Not true. Not at all true… People of color are amongst those who work tirelessly. Recently, I heard that a custodian of color at my UU congregation spoke of having lost 5 of his “homies.” By now, I suspect that the number has at least doubled.
As a parent of color, it’s always been especially important to me to give positive messages to my child, messages strong enough to counter the narratives received outside of my sphere of influence, concern, and care.
I ensure that my home reflects me: My love of my familial arc across the generations. My unapologetic Afrocentricity. My unshakeable commitment to building the Beloved Community. My Unitarian Universalist faith.
I ensure that I continue to model these values for my five-year old granddaughter. We are not able to sit side by side. She’s in Baltimore; I’m in New York. We Zoom as best we can, enjoying our Mima and Simone time. She dances for me, we read to each other, we share memories, and we share stories. She’s looking forward to our visit to the Motherland within the next five years.
It’s important to me that we share rituals, too. We light our UU chalices near the start of our time together and extinguish them as we bid each other goodnight. We share images of our current altars and recognize that although life seems hardly to move, our altars remind us that little changes happen daily. Simone finds a beautiful leaf on her walk in the park; it rests on her altar reminding her of her love for nature. My sister Hope and I receive wonderful homemade gifts from two dear young friends, and now a candle and scroll reside on my altar, reminding me of love across distance.
A generation ago, I swam against the tide helping my daughter Lehna and niece Jova unlearn lies, sometimes gently named as “untrue facts,” in order to strengthen their sense of worth and dignity. With Simone’s generation, I am again swimming against the tide. This time, I do so with a growing sense of urgency. I do not have the luxury of time to ensure that Simone belongs in her communities—whether at home, school, or at church.
Across all manner of difference, the question of belonging comes to the fore. Who is ready for a gifted student who is trans, an electrician who is a lesbian, a man who is a nurse? A non-threatening black boy? Societal stereotypes die hard. My Unitarian Universalist faith demands that I continue to counter unhealthy, unsafe, and untrue narratives that hurt us all.
The COVID-19 virus has given us the opportunity to make real our commitment to justice across all barriers. May we take the baton and carry on.
Talking with kids about the coronavirus can be hard. Here are some places to start.
Social stories help kids with autism and other disabilities. These may also help kids with anxiety or young kids. Coronavirus Social Story a resource for kids with autism by Amanda McGuinness and one by Laura Solomon a UU seminarian and therapist with children.
Stuck at home together, every family member’s behavior affects others some exponential degree more than usual. Families may wish to try making a covenant together.
Rev. Jason Seymour serves our congregation in Springfield, MA. During the pandemic, he and his wife are working from home and parenting two elementary school children. He wrote this note to his congregation:
I know that we Seymours are in a similar boat as some of you. Jen and I are trying to each telecommute full-time, while also parenting - and now home-schooling - our grade-school-aged kids. We're grateful for the flexibility, but that flexibility has meant that we're all on top of each other all the time. It's a bit nuts, but we're getting there.
We needed some more structure in our house so as to minimize the endless tug-of-war and so that the adults could get our work done. So... on Tuesday, I put on my small group ministry hat and we created a family covenant and a schedule. The covenant has given us a great framework for reminding one another about how we'd like to live together... especially since we are together a lot more now!! Really, we should've done this a while ago... but 'social distancing' - and the resultant 'family squishing'! - has made this need all the more apparent.
Anyway, I thought I'd share with you the covenant that we came up with collaboratively. We all talked; I took notes; Jen wrote it up; and then we all signed it. Has it solved all of our issues? No, but at least now we have an agreed upon framework by which to call one another 'in'... instead of mom & dad calling the kids 'out' all the time.
With love, and with a prayer of peace & health, from our home to yours...
More About Covenants
A covenant is a promise between members of a group on specific ways they will behave to show mutual respect, kindness, and acceptance and to express their shared goal of right relationship. Covenanting is a grounding practice in Unitarian Universalist faith tradition and it is central to who we are and have been as a people of faith: Our UU congregations form our Association by covenant. Most Unitarian Universalist small group ministry programs and many children’s and youth programs create covenants as part of the group process so that everyone has a say in guidelines for a safe, supportive space.
A family covenant is NOT a way to get your kids to behave as you wish. However, it provides a respectful, open forum for all ages to reflect and express what they need from one another. Creating a family covenant together, leaning into it, and revisiting it when a change is needed can be a meaningful religious education activity all generations can explore.
Tapestry of Faith children’s religious education programs often engage the group in making a covenant for their time together. To create a family covenant you can turn to online activities such as one from Love Connects Us, a program for grades 4-5.
The Seymour family covenant:
respect one another’s time
choice to participate or not; be on time
Respect one another’s space (bedroom & belongings)
ask to borrow; don’t just take
give space, respect requests for privacy
Respect shared space (everywhere else)
finish tasks, clean up after yourself
leave spaces ready for others; ask if you want to leave a project out
do chores joyfully
Respect one another’s voice & choices - listen
Solve problems collaboratively
no bullying, no tantrums
See possibilities, no harassing on mellows, no riding
Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your children. Be a model for your children on how we experience fear, stress, and anxiety over issues we have no control over. Just like we are always reminded to put on our oxygen mask before helping others, we need to engage in self-care and spiritual practices to sustain ourselves so we can be present for our children.
Talk with your child. Talking to your children about their fears and anxiety is the first step to help them feel safe and begin to cope with the events occurring around them. What you talk about and how you say it depends on their age, but all children need to be able to know you are available to listen to them and that it is okay to raise their issues of fear and anxiety.
Help them understand that it is okay to be frightened. Communicate that being courageous does not mean being without fear. Acting in spite of that fear is what makes someone courageous. Remind them of a favorite superhero or someone they admire and share how they acted courageously, despite their fears. Read storybooks about being brave and courageous and overcoming fear.
Find out what they want to know and need to know and keep the rest out. If they are not asking about elderly family members who may be affected, don’t bring this topic up to them (or within their hearing). When working on these issues with a child, try to find out as much as you can about what they know and understand or are struggling to understand. Base your responses on what you find out.
If they don’t bring it up, start the conversation. Everyone’s lives are being disrupted by the pandemic and social distancing, so they are well aware of the circumstances of the world right now. Bring it up to let them know you are interested in them and find how they are coping with the information they are getting.
Reassure your children. When children hear about something scary or disturbing, they often relate it to themselves and start to worry about their own safety. Given that their lives have been disrupted along with everyone else’s, they will definitely be concerned about their safety. For example, you might say, "That shouldn’t happen to you because we are doing everything we can to keep each other safe.” This kind of reassurance is what children most need to hear.
Answer questions and clear up misconceptions. Don’t try to give children all the information available. The best guide is to follow the child’s lead, giving small pieces of information at a time and seeing how your child responds before deciding what to say next. This is especially true if your family is being hit economically during the social distancing. It is easy to add to their fears if these issues are not addressed, so answer honestly and compassionately while clearing up any misconceptions the child has.
Look for times when they are most likely to talk. Children often bring up serious issues while you are riding in the car because you are a captive audience. You can use this technique, too. Other opportunities might be before dinner, but avoid unpleasant conversations at bedtime unless your child brings it up. Ideally, send them off to sleep with reassurance and comfort (even if you are not feeling this yourself).
Listen to their thoughts and point of view. Don't interrupt—allow them to express their ideas and understanding before you respond or correct them. Express your own opinions and ideas without putting down theirs; acknowledge that it is okay to disagree. Remind them you are there for them to provide safety, comfort and support. Ask them if there is something they can do to help them feel safer and, if possible, do it.
Give them extra hugs if they are comfortable with it. Other reassuring touches might be squeezing a shoulder, rubbing their back, or cuddling together.
Do your best to keep home a safe place. Children, regardless of their age, often find home to be a safe haven when the world around them becomes overwhelming. During this time of crisis, your children are probably at home because of school cancellations. Help make home a place where your children find the solitude or comfort they need. Plan times for participating in a favorite family activity or use this opportunity to create family activities to help you have fun while you are together. Play board games, watch a family movie, or listen to music together.
Watch for signs of stress, serious fears or anxiety. It is typical for children (and adults) to experience a wide range of emotions, including fearfulness, shock, anger, grief and anxiety. Your child's behaviors may change because of their response to the events happening around them. They may experience trouble sleeping, difficulty with concentrating on school work, or experience changes in appetite. This is normal for everyone and should begin to disappear with the passage of time. Encourage your children to put their feelings into words by talking about them, writing about them, or play-acting them. Some children may find it helpful to express their feelings through art or dancing to music.
Take breaks from news and social media. Teens especially may want to keep informed by gathering information about new events from the internet, television, or social media. However, it is important to limit the amount of time spent watching the news and engaging in social media because constant exposure may actually heighten anxiety and fears rather than alleviate them. There is also a lot of incorrect information floating around the internet about the coronavirus, so if your older child or teen is looking for practical information, help them find reliable sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) or the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
I’m a parent of a 21-year-old living with autism. We are getting along OK in this pandemic with online college for her, and more opportunities than usual to practice life skills like cooking together. I’ve been talking with some of you who are parenting children and teens with special needs at home, and I’m hearing that the standard parenting advice out there (Do More! Do Less! Allow screen time! Limit screen time! Do crafts! Have dance parties!) doesn’t feel relevant and even feels shaming and harmful.
I want to say this to you:
First, I say all this with so much love for you!
You know your child best, and you know your own limits.
Do what you think is right.
Do what you are able to sustain.
You are parents who know this pandemic is not hitting all of us in the same way – there are all sorts of in/justice factors here and we aren’t all resourced in the same ways. Some of us have medically fragile kids who also have cognitive or other challenges, and just managing their basic needs and providing some movement, care, and calming techniques comprises excellent parenting right now.
Some of us have kids who are emotionally or otherwise unable to connect to online learning, kids who need some space and understanding from us more than enforced routines.
Some of our kids need routine more than air almost. A wipe-board schedule with snack time, and craft time, and get-outside time and learning time (and blessedly, bedtime) is really the only choice even though it means you have little down time for yourself.
Keep breathing. You are enough even when you don’t feel like you are.
It is enough if you don’t do any cleaning because you are juggling a paying job and time with your kids.
It is enough to manage getting by with half or less of your previous household income right now rather than attending to the full educational needs of your child this week.
It is enough if you have to resort to having cereal for dinner some nights because you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
It is enough to sit outside your front door for a time out, and it is enough if you need to cry.
It is enough if burn-out overtakes you; it is enough to recognize burn-out coming and take the break you need.
It is enough to take joy in the simplest things, and to mourn all that is lost.
Finally, it is more than OK to ask for help.
What is helping you manage right now? Where else can you turn?
Some school districts and social service providers are going above and beyond right now, while others are really not. I’ve always found other parents of special needs children to be the best sources of information about where to turn for advocacy, fulfillment of IEPs, assessment for services, and now online support.
We’ve posted a few helpful links below. Feel free to send us suggestions you’d like us to share.
More importantly, what is feeding your spirit?
Do you have time to take a deep breath?
Look out a window?
Listen to some music?
Take a brief pause?
You are a good gift. You are enough.
The Rev. Sarah Lammert is the Co-Director for Ministries and Faith Development at the UUA. She is a divorced (and recently remarried amidst COVID!) parent of two young adults, the younger of whom lives with autism and social anxiety disorder, and lives at home. She hails from Northern Vermont, and is amazed at the resilience and creativity of special needs parents and caregivers.
Hey parents who now have kids underfoot, I want to say something that might be shocking. I want to give you permission to NOT DO ANYTHING ACADEMIC with your kids. I want you to know that whatever you need to do to get through this slow moving crisis, it will be enough.
You don't have to become your kids' teacher. You don't have to do any of it. It's okay. Really. Especially those of you who are also still working, from home, trying desperately to do all the things while keeping the children occupied and not fighting.
First let me tell you about bringing kids out of a formalized school environment. Then. I'll talk about trauma and reducing its effects on children.
(And if you need my credentials, here they are: I've been raising children for thirty years. I am an ordained minister, a religious educator, and I am a former homeschooler, of the radical unschooling variety. I have homeschooled at almost all grade levels. And I have more than once in life had to suddenly start homeschooling a kid who had been in school for years. I have had kids in public school too. Yes, I have raised plenty of children.)
It is important to understand that when you remove a kid from a classroom environment, there is a long process of decompression for them. They might sleep a lot, or want to watch too much t.v., or (like my youngest two right now) have their nose in books well below their grade level for a week or two.
It's all okay. Let them detox. In all likelihood, in most locales, this school year is effectively over. And you know what, that's going to be okay too. Schools will figure out what to do with this year, how to bring the kids forward down the road. Don't worry about that now.
What I do want you to think about right now is that we are undergoing a collective and slow moving disaster. Yes, that's what this is. The amount of anxiety and trauma we are all experiencing is very large. The dread alone is a weighty thing to bear. Our lives have been disrupted, and it will be a long time before things right themselves.
What children need in times of trauma is comfort. If we had just survived an earthquake or a hurricane, we would not be worrying about the kids getting their online lessons (if you even have those in your district). They need extra snuggles, they need free play (that's where they work out their fears and questions), and they need permission to regress.
Thumb-sucking, bedwetting, clinginess—these are all normal. Outbursts of tears, fighting with siblings-also normal.
The toll falling on you, as parents and caregivers, is large. We are all exhausted and worried. And the most important thing in this disaster is mitigating its impact on our bodies and psyches. So, as we practice staying inside, please, please go easy on yourselves. You do not have to concern yourself right now with lessons and academic progress. We are now concerned with surviving a disaster.
Let's talk about trauma. Trauma is exhausting to body and mind. I'm having trouble keeping my thoughts in order. I am deeply tired. I'm alternately panicked, tearful, and very angry. Other times I'm zoned out and numb. I have no appetite, except for jelly beans.
Our kids are in the same state too. They might seem like clingy jellyfish or grumpy bears, but they are feeling the anxiety of the adults around them and they are also trying to adjust to the complete disruption of their daily lives.
Some helpful activities for working through emotions in times of trauma:
Clay and playdough are very useful in emotional regulation. Salt dough is good too—and very easy to make.
Painting and other art helps kids work through things they can't express verbally.
Playing with stuffed animals or dolls, working out feelings. Let your child do anything in their play and don't interfere, even if it is things like violence or death. This is how kids work through the things that scare them.
Large motor activity--a dance party, a yoga session with the whole family, a race on the sidewalk (if you are allowed out)
Writing down forbidden words and shouting them all together (if your family is okay with that)
Getting outside, even if for a walk around the block
Planting seeds if you have them, and in egg cartons if you don't have a garden (growing things is a practice of hope)
Singing together. Now's a great time to learn all the old folk songs or musical numbers that you learned as a kid. It doesn't matter if you sing well, or terribly—singing has physiological benefits rooted in breathing, and singing with others has psychological benefits that are good for repairing brains.
Praying or meditating together. If this practice is new to you, you might feel a little awkward at first. That's okay. If it comforts you, it will comfort your kids. For Jewish and Christian families, the 23rd Psalm might be familiar. If you do not belong to a particular tradition, you might read comforting poems.
One of the biggest things we can do to reduce the harm of trauma is to be of service to others. Feeling useful helps mitigate the worst of our distress. Look for ways your kiddos can help others:
Call or video message grandparents and older friends who are alone
Write thank you notes to caregivers and mail them to local hospitals
Put together zip loc bags of snacks for an adult to give out to people living without shelter
Organize an online fundraiser for your local food bank or relief efforts
Finally, gratitude practices help us grow spiritually in times of crisis. In our family, every night as we begin to eat our dinner, each of us is saying one thing we are grateful for. This is immensely healing for our spirits and our bodies--because concentrating on gratitude activates different parts of our brains than our lower brain stem "fear and threat" zone.
Modeling service and gratitude, instead of concern about whether we will "keep up" with the old normal, will teach your child a lot about how to be a leader in times of crisis, too.
Mostly, just be relaxed together as a family as much as you can. If you do not have to work to feed your family (or keep your job), then maybe you can reduce your time spent on the computer. It's okay to watch movies every night. It's okay to stay up late and sleep in even later.
And if you must keep working, and you are scared you will never make it through these days, just know that however you get through will be good enough. If your kids run wild and naked through the house while you are on Zoom calls, it's okay. If your second grader wants to read Warriors books all day and night, and will only eat cold cereal for every meal, it's okay. (Hello, that's the situation at my house.)
It's all okay. The most important thing is to be good to yourself and the people in your circle of care. If what you need to do is plant your kid in front of Netflix for three hours so you can finish that project for your boss, that's okay. Really. If you need to let them dig a giant hole in your lawn, hey that's okay too. My children destroyed part of my small flower garden yesterday to build a fort. Whatever, right? We can always repair it later.
If you need permission to stop trying to keep things normal, here it is. I give it to you. Just do your best to keep yourself and those around you in good mental health, and you will get through this.
Take good care, beloveds. You can do this. You are doing this. And if you reach a breaking point, reach out to a friend. We can get through this together.
As a parent of two young children, our looming school closure is on my heart and mind. It may be on yours too. Here’s some advice I've compiled from religious professionals for all of us!
Set up a Routine.
Routines Help Children Feel Safe
They help us fit in what we need to for a balanced day. And it will be much harder to impose a routine a few days in. What to include?
Keep bedtime and wake up. A steady sleep schedule helps everyone.
Exercise and fresh air! Get outside every day if you can for fresh air and to move your bodies--away from playgrounds (virus can live on the surface) and large groups (stay 6' away from others). If you can, garden. Dirt is good for everyone’s mental health and tending to a garden is a good way to cultivate hope in hard times.
Include education. The more life is “normal”, the less traumatic this disruption will be for your kids. Focus both on your children’s interests and places they may need a little help. Do some social justice education the school hasn’t done. Have your kids keep a journal--they’re living history right now! Do some science. Research viruses. Take an online class. Practice second and third languages. Don’t forget the arts, music, and recess--all the things our schools have cut back on!
Connect. Our children need to connect and need to have this part of their routine. Plan to connect online with your family, people from church, and your children’s friends. Have play dates on video chat. Show each other art. Read to each other. Teach your family members how to connect with your kid via video: toddlers love silly songs and finger plays, preschoolers love to be read to, elementary students can tell jokes, read, play their instrument, sing, listen to a chapter a day.
Sibling Rivalry. Some of the sibling stuff is going to be no joke. Plan for it by making one on one time with your kids part of the day.
Include your kids in the chores. Teach them to cook (practice fractions!). Have them do laundry and cleaning. Feeling accomplished and competent helps them feel less powerless.
Include rituals. Now is a good time to do your meal blessings, light a chalice, and create other family rituals. Rituals ground and center us and we'll be missing the embodied rituals that are part of church in person. Here's a video of Annie Scott singing a song for your families as a possibility as a home chalice lighting ritual.
Adult routines. All of this goes for adults too especially if you're working from home. Structure will help you know when you're paying attention to work, to home, to children.
Resources for Education at Home
The internet is awash in home schooling ideas and companies making subscriptions free. Scholastic and PBS Learning Media are probably already known by your children.
Our own UU Tapestry of Faith has a multitude of art and craft projects searchable by topic and always connected to a story
Find Things to Look Forward To
Even if this isn’t the family time we’d choose, we are getting to be together as a family. Find some things to look forward to about this.
Brainstorm together all the things you could do. Your kids probably have a lot of ideas.
Encourage each kid to pick a “passion project” -- something they really want to learn about to research and teach the whole family about.
Take on some projects that need doing--spring cleaning, garden start up, etc. Accomplishing big things makes everyone feel good.
Take Care of Yourself and Other Adults in Your Household
The more grounded and resilient you are, the more grounded and resilient your children will be.
Make plans to regularly connect with adult friends
Make plans to connect online with parents from church.
Set aside at least a little time each day to be alone.
Set aside a little time each day for the adults to be adults together.
Know the signs when you need help--and reach out to friends and to your congregation.
If you're sick and having to care for your kids too, be patient with yourself. The routine and whatever the usual limits on screen time might go out the window. That's ok.
Structure Your Space and Limit Your Electronics
Help each member of your family create a space in the house that is theirs that they can go be alone in. Use noise canceling headphones or music on headphones to get away from everyone else.
Staying on top of the clutter and chaos is probably well worth it even if like me you struggle.
Have a conversation about screens. Screens are good for entertainment, education, and connection. But they can also take us away from the present moment, feed us stories of despair, and over-stimulate our brains. Be honest with your kids about your own challenges with screens. Talk together about what good boundaries are and help each other use your screens in ways that enhance well-being.
Care for Bodies, Minds, and Spirits
Let it be okay if your children (or yourself!) are feeling loss, frustrated, sad, or worried.
Recognize those moments when kids are struggling are natural and will pass. Don’t pressure them to “snap out of it” or “stick to the schedule.” Instead, slow down, get quiet, and be a non-intrusive, non-anxious, loving presence as they ride it out.
Music can shift moods especially when we get cranky--play music, dance, sing!
Remember laughter is good for all of us. Silly books, jokes, and funny movies are good medicine.
Help yourself and your children name their feelings. Naming feelings helps tame them.
Be clear with yourself and your kids about when you need to pay attention to work. Make some time each day when you are really present to them.
Move bodies! Have a dance party before some school work. Include proprioceptor stimulation as breaks between activities: balance on one leg, walk like a crab or bear, stretch! Let your kids have a turn to lead you in exercises.
It’s likely that you’ll be talking about death with your children sometime in the near future. If this feels hard, set up a time to talk with your religious professionals and other parents from church. Here is a resource that may help and “Breaking News” and “A Terrible Thing Happened” to listen to with your kids.
I know it's hard to be so isolated. Our role in slowing this virus down is to stay away from public places, resist dropping our kids off at other people's houses, and severely limit who we come in physical contact with. Most of us are only seeing older family members over the internet. It's hard. There will be another side to this.
Look for something to be grateful for every day. Even if it’s just that you don’t have to rush the kids out the door. Breathe. Notice the world’s beauty. Remember you love your children and they love each other even when it doesn’t look like it.