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COVID-19: Social Distancing, and Connecting

The biggest problem we will face in the coming weeks is the overwhelm of our medical system. The best way to help mitigate the severity of this crisis is to practice social distancing in order to #flattenthecurve. Social distancing is the most compassionate action we can take for other's safety and wellness right now. Thankfully, children-- especially young children-- are not only more physically resistant to COVID-19, but likely also emotionally resilient. They usually do not grasp the severity of the situation on the same level that we do as adults. Nonetheless, they will still be impacted by adults’ stress (re: mirror neurons and emotional contagion!) and the isolation we will all endure in the coming weeks or months. Heartfulness practices can help them continue to feel connected to others, and build empathy and compassion in a time when those are most needed. This practice works for us adults, too. Heartfulness is the intentional cultivation of positive attitudes toward ourselves and others. The following are simple and easy heartfulness activities you can do with kids-- and they have the dual purpose of offering stir-crazy parents some additional entertainment for their kids! -Lie down, close your eyes, and listen to this loving kindness meditation with your younger kids or students, or this one for teens and adults. (Teachers, this would be a great meditation to plug into your virtual curriculum over the coming weeks.) -Make a list together of things you are grateful for in your life right now. -For K-3rd graders, read the book The Kindness Quilt by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. For more advanced readers, check out Carol McCloud’s Have You Filled a Bucket Today? -Write a letter or draw a picture and send via snail mail (with clean, recently washed hands!) to a friend or family member. Incorporate one compliment, or one thing you really like about them. -Viruses are contagious-- and so is kindness. Watch and discuss the movie “Kindness is Contagious,” for ages 9 and up.  Please reply back with feedback if you try any of these! I would love to know how they go. May we stay physically distant and emotionally connected.  <3 Emily Listmann


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