Suggestions provided by West Hartford resident Amanda Aronson for how older kids can help care for parents who come down with the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Submitted by Amanda Aronson
Your kids may be charged with caring for you in the coming weeks. This will feel less scary for them if they feel prepared. If they know they may have a job to do, they will rise to the occasion. Prepare them well. Older kids can handle reality if it is presented calmly and with structure.
Some things to consider:
- Print phone lists that they may need to have access to for themselves or other adults trying to guide them remotely (numbers for family and friends, doctors’ names and numbers, hotlines, grocery stores, your attorney’s office, Comcast, etc.).
- Write down directions for how they can prepare simple meals for themselves and for you using what is in the house. You may have tons of frozen chicken, but do they know what to do with it? If you will need soup, do you have it? What meals will they want to eat and how will they make them?
- Ensure they know where the basic medical supplies are that you may need (Tylenol, thermometer, medications, etc.) Consider making a list of what other daily medications you take and sorting a 2-week’s supply out now.
- Practice laundry, dishes, and simple cleaning now, so they are comfortable with those chores later.
- Ensure they have appropriate access to your computer for online grocery shopping and have your credit card attached to the account.
- Set up a Venmo account so you or they can reimburse neighbors who may be helping to buy you groceries.
- Ensure they are clear on how to manage themselves in the house if you are quite sick and how to communicate with others if they start to feel sick. Make sure they know what the signs are for when to call 911, if the need arises.
- Confirm that they know how to feed the family animals, and consider making a chart for them to check off so they know they did it.
Kids are capable of much more than we realize. Calm preparation and straight talk can make a bad situation reasonable for them and also teach them valuable life-management skills.
Amanda Aronson is secretary of the West Hartford Board of Education and principal of Aronson Consulting, a nonprofit and educational consulting firm specializing in marketing, development, and strategic planning. She has a master’s in education and was formerly director of marketing and communications at the Bridge Family Center.
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