Shari, a mother of two, and I talked recently, and our session quickly turned to how her kids, 11 and 4, are handling being at home — and how Shari and her husband are doing as well. Together we created a list of ways to help her kids thrive during the current stay-at-home order.
Take Charge Of Your Current Situation
Our new normal of physical distancing is going to be with us for a while. If you’ve been limping along or holding your breath for the order for a return to school, stop kidding yourself. Don’t wait a moment longer to create a new way of living at home that helps you and your children thrive. You can do it!
How To Begin
Have a family meeting, or if you’re a single parent and need another adult to talk to, brainstorm with other parents and friends about what is working for them.
Most importantly, think about how to create stability, a regular schedule (better for everyone’s nervous system), and new expectations that fit the current reality.
Change Your Expectations
Don’t expect your child to handle this situation the way you are. They don’t have the life experience to understand what strengths are needed now or that this, too, shall pass. Deal with your child’s understandable frustration, impatience, and sadness with kindness and calm. Use reflective listening to help them feel heard, understood, and loved. It will be a valuable parenting tool you will use long after this is all over. (See the Resources list at the end of this post)
Create A New Schedule
Decide on a new schedule for everyone, not just for the kids. When will school and work hours be? Meal prep time? Alone time? Family fun time? Outside time? Free time? Decide on who will do what chores and make housekeeping both educational and fun. Yes, your child can and should learn to do their laundry and make scrambled eggs or grilled cheese or a salad. (See Resources section, below.)
Remember, you are teaching life skills that will help and sustain your child for the rest of their lives.
School At Home
Whether your kids are getting lessons online or not, accept the fact that you are one of their teachers now and expect to have a learning curve around that. You have the opportunity, and perhaps the necessity, to teach your child valuable Life Skills, such as self-initiation, balancing work and play, self-regulation, time management, and cooperation.<