A few ways Caswell youth (and parents) can adapt in our new normal

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Studies show that human contact, interaction, and conversation are needed. In contrast, too much screen time has a negative effect on our bodies. However, in the last few weeks, our children (and most of our population) have gone from High Touch and High Tech world to a more Low Touch and High Tech world. I am not talking about actual touch in most cases, I am talking about human interactions. Our children have gone from time with friends, school teachers, school staff and extracurricular actives including 4-H, where they have caring and interactive environments, to just us, their parents/guardians. We are trying to fill this void and also for most of us also trying to work from home at the same time.

This change has been challenging for everyone. Your normal has been disrupted and replaced abruptly with solitude and devices. Your children’s school and after school activities have been replaced with virtual activities and another screen. 4-H has gone from group club activities, livestock shows and group events to a new virtual world. So what can you do to help your children and yourselves in this new normal?

Talk to them! They are dealing with a new normal also. Ask them how they are feeling? Devices can take a lot of our time away from our families. Research has shown that being connected to devices actually reduces the time we speak to our family and friends face to face. So just have a conversation with them, who knows what you will learn about their schoolwork, interests and how they are coping with our new world. You can also have them start a journal just for them. Journals can be written, short videos or drawings and give our children another way to express themselves.

Create a schedule and dedicated space for your family to do your “work”, this will help everyone! This doesn’t have to be perfect or start at exactly 8 a.m., however, it will help to schedule school, work and fun time. Don’t forget that we still need time for fun!

It’s spring, so go outside! What a great time to live in Caswell County where we can social distance and still get out into nature easily. You can use spring as a way to teach your children almost any school subject and as a stress reliever for everyone! A great free opportunity is the new virtual Junior Master Gardner Program. This program teaches youth about plants and soil while also teaching math, science, writing and more. You can also take a break and “Take a Hike” using the scavenger hunt developed by the NC State Parks. So where do you find these great ideas and more? The Caswell County 4-H Facebook page of course. We will continue to post ideas that you can do with your family to keep learning, growing and having fun together!

We also just want you to know that during this challenging time N.C. Cooperative Extension Service is still here to serve you and our community even if it looks a little different than normal. All of our staff are working hard to keep our community safe and answer the questions you have about youth, agriculture, cooking, families and more! Please do not hesitate to contact us! You can also find us on Facebook and the Caswell County website at North Carolina Cooperative Extension of Caswell County for updates and more information!