Mom, Dad. It Will Be Ok This Fall.
It’s not going to be easy, no matter what anyone told you, to be a parent. Ever. Life is hard. Kids, for all that we love them and all the endless joy and blessings that they give us, have difficult days that leave you wondering how you made it through.
Throw in a global pandemic, a potentially precarious work situation, figuring out if children will be going to school or not, and the conspicuous absence of typical activities and social situations for ourselves and our children, and it can feel overwhelming.
You will get through this.
Your kids will get through this.
This is just a season in life. It’s a long one and a hard one for many of us, but it will not last forever.
Here are some tips to help you when you feel overwhelmed.
1) Now that the school year is approaching, or has already begun, take the time to talk to your child’s teacher. Schedule a meeting to go over their plans for the year, address any concerns that you saw last year, and how you can support the teacher’s efforts this year. If your school district is virtual for the beginning of the year, set aside space for your child to complete their online classes with minimal distractions.
2) Create a schedule and stick to it as best you can. Routine helps children prepare and know what to expect in the day. Especially if you can build on the pre-pandemic routine you had previously, it will help them settle into the new normal. This will also assist you if you are working from home or are taking care of other responsibilities; a routine sets in place boundaries that can help your children give you time to take care of additional tasks.
3) Don’t expect perfection. You are not going to be able to stick to your schedule perfectly. Give yourself grace when your family sleeps in, spends an extra hour playing, or if the kids want cereal for dinner. Also, especially with your younger kids, be prepared for virtual learning to be difficult. Listen to your child and modify things as needed to help them during this time.
4) Go outside. Just like spending time outside is rejuvenating for you, it is good for your kids as well. It is a change in their environment, an opportunity to release all their pent-up energy, and a chance to get some vitamin D from the sun. If you don't have a backyard, consider local parks, trails, or even just a walk around your city block. For younger kids, you could even play red-light, green-light while on a walk to mix up the activity and practice listening skills.
5) Give everyone alone time and family time. For the introverts in your house, it can be hard to have everyone on top of everyone else all the time. Give your kids the option for some alone time and respect it. In reverse, take some time to be together as a family. It does not have to be fancy, but the goal is to continue to promote your family bonding time.
6) Have patience with your child. Kids are going to act out, especially with the upheaval of all that is familiar. You cannot control their responses. What you can control is how you respond. Understand that you will need to have some flexibility with your kids as challenges arise. But also remember that as things settle down, they will too.
Don't worry, you will be able to do this.