• Dr. Carey Incledon

How can my family better handle being confined together for weeks?

· Set up a family schedule for all seven days of the week—and stick to it. Do not make it too detailed, but, rather, have a general plan for what will happen in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Try to have a regular wake-up routine (e.g., everyone gets up, showered, dressed, and fed) and a nighttime routine (e.g., change clothes, dim the lights, read) to help maintain a regular sleep cycle. Schedule some time alone, especially for the adults. If partners are sharing the childcare duties, set up at least a half-day for each parent to have time “off” each week.

· Try to incorporate some intentional, positive activities each day, even if they only take a few minutes. For example, before eating dinner each night, each family member can tell one or all of the others one characteristic they appreciate–make sure to include a specific example of the characteristic (e.g., “I appreciate your warmth; yesterday when you gave me a big hug, it made me feel really good”).

· Learn a relaxation or breathing exercise together so that everyone has a tool for calming themselves down. If tensions rise, family members can practice the exercise together to become calmer. This can also encourage a feeling of closeness and connection.

· Have each family member create a list of 10 things that make them feel cared for. You can post these lists in a common area (e.g., on the refrigerator). Each day, have everyone try to provide at least one of the items on the other members’ lists. Family members can add new ideas to their own lists anytime.

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