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Coronavirus Survival Tips: How to Make Sense of it All!

26 March, 2020
Q Salaam Alaykum. With everything going on with Coronavirus I am at my wits end with worry. My kids are home from school and are picking up on my fear. What can I do to help our family feel normal? I am working from home and so I can’t dedicate my whole day to schooling and entertaining them and I am afraid they will fall behind in regular studies as well as Islamic studies. Please help!

Answer

Short Answer:

  • I think the best policy is, to be honest with our kids about our feelings. I understand the instinct to protect our children and keep our worries inside.
  • But I think you will be surprised at how much more relaxed your kids will become if you are honest with them (in an age-appropriate way) about your feelings. 
  • Some things you can do is try to have some family time daily. Pray together, since you’re all home together. Have meals together. Have a family movie or family game night. These are the things your kids will remember in years to come — not how well you did keeping them caught up with studies. 
  • Remember, the Prophet (saw) told people to pray at home rather than come to prayer because it was raining. If bad weather is a good enough reason to pray from home, then a pandemic with a 1-3% mortality rate certainly is. 

………….

Coronavirus Coping Rescue Tips: How to Make Sense of it All!

Salaam Alaykum, sister. Thank you for your question. 
These are uncertain and scary times for us all. I, myself am having similar
problems, and I am certain many other parents out there are as well. So let me start with this: you are not alone. 

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Kids Pick Up on Stress

As you mentioned you have noticed: our kids pick up on our stress. As parents (and perhaps especially as mothers) we have the instinct to shelter our children from how scary the world can be.

When the virus first came to my state, I told my kids about washing their hands and being extra careful “because people are getting sick.”

Once schools closed when I tried to explain to my kids why, my son said, “We know. It’s because of the coronavirus.”

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This made me realize that our kids probably know more than we realize. Once I recognized that I talked to them about why I was scared and asked them if they were scared or if they had any questions. 

I think the best policy is, to be honest with our kids about our feelings. I understand the instinct to protect our children and keep our worries inside.

But I think you will be surprised at how much more relaxed your kids will become if you are honest with them (in an age-appropriate way) about your feelings. 

I Have to Work! How Can I Support my Kids’ Studies?

This is also a great question that I’m sure many people share. 

Firstly, is your husband working? If he is also home, it is important to split the duties between you two, as your work is equally important and it will be healthy for your kids to get support from both parents.

If he is out of work currently, then the kids should be his main focus. If he is out of the house for work, do the best you can and on his days off have him take over. 

As for practical advice: ask any homeschooler and they will tell you that you do not need to fill your kids’ day with eight hours of academics. 

I personally advise you to pick one or two subjects a day and just have them do a couple of hours of work. At times like this, when everyone’s stress levels are high, it is more important to look after the emotional well-being of your kids than academics. 

Practical Ideas for Kids of a Few Different Ages

Here are a few practical ideas for kids of a few different ages, based on my own kids and my niece. 

For my son (10 years) I have been having him do the following:

-For writing practice, keep a journal about his thoughts/feelings/experience with how everything is different these days. 

-For reading, I allow him almost unlimited time on his Kindle, but only for reading – not games

-For social studies I have him read the same news story from two different sources (eg: FOX vs CNN) and compare the difference

-For phys ed I have him ride his bike or do a fitness blender workout

For my daughter (6 years):

-For writing/reading, I have her write down all her sight words for memory and read them back to me.

-For art, I let her use my nice pens to draw a picture of our family. 

-For science, we are baking a cake together and talking about what the different ingredients are for.

-For math practice, I let her play educational games on the tablet

For my niece (4 years):-

-My sister practices one letter a day with her

-She follows children’s yoga videos on YouTube for exercise

-She “helps” do yardwork for science


My husband has taken over Arabic and Islamic studies with the kids and is teaching my daughter the numbers 1-10 and reviewing salah with my son. 

Again, these activities are not all done every day. Just one or two daily. And DO NOT WORRY if your kids are getting more screen time than usual. My kids are too, and so are many others.


What Can I Do to Feel Normal?

Sister, the best thing to do is to follow CDC guidelines or the guidelines of health officials (not politicians) in your area. 

Some things you can do is try to have some family time daily. Pray together, since you’re all home together. Have meals together. Have a family movie or family game night. These are the things your kids will remember in years to come — not how well you did keeping them caught up with studies. 

You did not mention this, but there is a lot of bad information going around out there so I do want to clarify: please do NOT attend congregational prayers at the mosque. Some people have been saying that Allah will keep them safe because they are praying. 

Remember, the Prophet (saw) told people to pray at home rather than come to prayer because it was raining. If bad weather is a good enough reason to pray from home, then a pandemic with a 1-3% mortality rate certainly is. 

Allah does not guarantee that people will be safe just because they are praying. It is of utmost importance to maintain social distancing guidelines. Think of that as being akin to tying your camel and then trusting in Allah. 

Insha’Allah I hope this advice helps, sister. I know maintaining “normal” is hard now, but if we all do our part and obey the guidelines set forth for public safety, we will be able to return to normal sooner rather than later. 

We hope this answers your query. 

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

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