It is all unprecedented, and yet here we are. Schools, churches, restaurants: closed. Kindergarteners through college kids are home and tasked with e-learning. Our budgets have been impacted, the grocery stores are picked bare, and no one really knows what to expect.
I think we need to take a collective breath. Nope, not kidding. Actually, do it. 🙂 This is new for all of us and it is okay if we are feeling a bit stressed by it all. Taking a breath is important today and will also be in the days to come.
Having a plan can be helpful, too. I have a couple of suggestions for you that may help as you get ready for the weeks ahead. Some of this may be counter-intuitive and I would love to hear your thoughts.
- Be mindful of the words you are using, especially around your kids. If you are feeling stressed about being cooped up together at home, find another adult to discuss this with, out of the earshot of your kids. Our children need to know they are valued and loved. Let’s make sure we send that message clearly so they do not inadvertently feel like they are causing a hardship for someone else. We can make a plan that makes the most of this time together and maybe it can even end up being something really healthy and fun for our family.
- DO talk with your kids about what the Coronavirus is and what is going on in the world. In the absence of information, kids fill in the gaps themselves. Tell them that it is a virus that people are getting and that we can do our part to help stop it. Tell them that doctors are smart and working on helping the sick. Tell them that you will take care of them and love them and watch out for them. Reduce the drama and stick with comforting words. Please expose your little ones to very little television news about this pandemic. The tone and information can be very scary.
- Try to make a plan that includes minimal tablet/phone/video gaming for your kids. Hang with me here! 🙂 Most of you know that I speak on the impact of technology on the development of children. One of the things I have learned as I pour over research is that screen-time can actually cause our kids to struggle with their behavior. There are lots of reasons this happens, but for now, I want to encourage you to minimize screen-time because that decision will likely help YOU. Kids need to move. They need to make noise and try things and play outside. How can you plan for these things each day? If you do, you will quickly find that the energy that your kids have is being put to good use!
- Communicate your needs and ask your kids to do the same. If you need to work from home, have a brief family meeting about what you will need and how long that will last. Make a plan for what the kids will do during that time. Legos and piles of books will go a very long way! 🙂
- Give yourself grace and extend it to your kids. Stress begets stress, and our kids can “catch” it from us. Kids who are feeling stress will often act out. So, let’s pace ourselves and give ourselves grace when the day does not go as we hoped. We need to understand that there will not be one right way to do this thing. Some days we will knock it out of the park and other days we will be praying for bedtime. We have to do the best we can today and then tomorrow we can learn from our mistakes. It is okay.
Lastly, two quick links that may be helpful in the days to come:
- All kids benefit from some structure. If you have ever thought about starting Sticks (an easy and accessible program you do at home that helps kids know what they need to do, helps them to do chores, and improves behavior by addressing discipline in a way that matters to kids) THIS IS THE TIME. The Sticks System can even help with schoolwork and e-learning. Start with the book. You can get it here: https://amzn.to/2w0sioh
- My author/speaker Facebook page will have more ideas and encouragement for you. Please join us there! Here is a link for you: https://www.facebook.com/NadiaLiseSF/
We will get through this. I really believe that this time can be a good thing for so many of us. It is new and it is unexpected. But we can make a plan and support one another and love on our kiddos and come out the other side having experienced something good. We also have this time to teach our kids about making choices that address the “greater good”. We are doing this to stop this virus, to help ourselves and others stay well. We are thinking beyond ourselves and focusing on our neighbors, as well. What a powerful lesson for kids of all ages! 🙂
Hang in there, friends. Connect with me on Facebook and we will get through this thing together! On we go!