PORTLAND, Ore. — Many adults are feeling overwhelmed right now with daily routines turned upside down and they’re not alone, kids are feeling it too.
Moms Kelly Oriard and Callie Christensen know this is a stressful time for kids and they want to help.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of anxiety and we all want to navigate this in the best way that we can,” Oriard said.
Not only are these two moms, they’re also the co-founders of Vancouver-based Slumberkins. Their goal is to give parents tools to promote emotional well-being through cuddly creatures and their accompanying books.
These toys and books cover a wide range of issues from gratitude and conflict resolution to grief and loss. Oriard and Christensen believe they have the perfect book to help your kids through the stresses of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“The Alpaca book was specifically designed to relieve stress and anxiety for situations that are out of our control; like a pandemic where schools are shut down for weeks and parents are really looking for tools to help open up communication between them and their children,” Christensen said.
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So right now, they’re offering their Alpaca Stress Relief board book for free to help kids with anxiety while the world around them may feel very different and a little scary.
“I think it just creates less of a barrier for children to worry about speaking what they’re feeling,” Christensen said. “And it’s easier to say what you’re feeling to, maybe, an alpaca or when you’re promoted to, instead of just coming to your parent and speaking about it.”
The book comes with a digital copy. That way you can get your kids talking through their feelings right now.
However, before you can talk your kids through their stress, you have to evaluate your own.
Oriard is a licensed therapist and Christensen an educator. They say a child’s emotional well-being starts with their parents. So, it’s important to manage your own stress first.
“With all of us parents, probably, overconsuming the media and stressing out kids -- even the little ones that you don’t think are in tuned to what’s happening in today’s climate -- they’re in tuned to our stress levels as parents,” Christensen said. “And so, also remembering to put on our oxygen masks first and take care of ourselves to kind of lower the stress levels in the home is another piece of the puzzle that we’re trying to support through Slumberkins.”
They also say it’s important to create structure while kids are home from school for the next couple of weeks.
They suggest parents set time limits on activities and take breaks in-between to keep this time from feeling like an extended weekend.
Be prepared for developmentally appropriate conversations with your kids. Give them the facts about people getting sick and why it’s important to wash our hands and cover our coughs, without oversharing, according to Oriard
Another tip, use everyday chores and activities as a learning opportunity to build life skills; things like cooking, cleaning, and organizing. You can think of it as a mini home economics course in your own home.
The Alpaca Stress Relief book is for kids ages 2 through 5. Slumberkins will also offer a free curriculum for older kids online called The Feels, along with other free resources.
You can find them now at Slumberkins.com.
CLICK HERE for a link to your free Alpaca Stress Relief book.