Some of us are in our 11th, yes 11th, week of self-isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It feels like we’ve been living this way for so long now, and instead of wondering when it’ll be over, it’s all about accepting that this is just our new normal. Some of the country is slowly starting to re-open things, but I obviously feel the safest at home with my family. On the other hand, parenting hasn’t been so easy for everyone throughout all of this and that’s completely understandable—after all, we’re all human, right? While I’m so blessed to spend this time with my family that we wouldn’t have had otherwise, parenting has definitely changed as we’re quarantined. I’ve seen so many parents express their feelings lately, and I wanted to share some of the things I’m doing to make this experience as enjoyable as possible for all of us. Give yourself a few minutes to read this post and use that as some much-needed alone time to get you started.
Structure. Structure. Structure.
Nothing productive will come out of an environment that doesn’t have a structure in place. I know it’s hard with working from home, school work at home, and every other responsibility on our to-do lists, but a structure changes everything. Once your kids know the rhythm of what their day-to-day lives should look like right now, it’ll get so much easier for everyone involved. My kids know when it’s time to wake up, start school, take breaks, etc. Without this we would feel even more lost than we did when this first started.
Understanding (and learning more about) Habits
When we’re not with our kids all day, we don’t fully understand their good and bad habits. Paying close attention to the things they do now can make room for conversations and implementing different behavior where necessary. This can be anything from procrastinating assignments to biting their fingernails to which school subjects they thrive in the most. Pay close attention and take note!
This one can get tough. Our kids are going through a lot right now, even if they aren’t all showing it. This is not how we’re built to live our lives, but we genuinely don’t have any other choice. Learn more about how they’re feeling through conversations or activities. If my kids can’t pinpoint an emotion they’re feeling right off the bat, I’ll have them write down some of the things they are feeling inside of their bodies whether it be tension, redness in the face, or butterflies in their stomachs.
Practicing and Teaching Mindfulness
To piggyback off of that, mindfulness is just as important. Our kids need to be aware of what’s going on, why we’re living this way, and how to properly address any of their concerns. Learning mindfulness isn’t like learning a subject in school or how to play a sport, it takes time and a deep dive into your own thoughts. Mindfulness teaches kids how to be more compassionate, empathetic, curious, and even focused. While I can try to guide them as a much as I can, this is something they’ll truly have to learn for themselves but being vocal about it is a great start. As parents, we can exemplify this by staying calm in certain situations and being a lot more engaged when they express themselves.
Carving Out Alone Time
Let me start off by saying that I am fully aware that not everyone has the ability to do this right now. Everyone’s living situations and schedules are different, and alone time can be fully off the table for some. If you’re able to spend just a few minutes with yourself each day, I promise it’ll change your mindset and will make you feel more refreshed. Whether it’s a quick meditation in the morning, enjoying a longer shower, journaling, or exercising—that’s entirely up to you, but take the time when (and if) you can. We all love our kids, but sometimes we just need some “me” time, and that’s okay!
How has social distancing affected your parenting? How are you holding up? I’d love to hear from you!