[Portions of this blog were taken from a Facebook post written by Dr. Emily King]
What parents are being asked to do right now is not humanly possible. Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time. It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much.
When you have to pick, (because at some point you will) choose connection. Pick playing a game over arguing about an academic assignment. Pick teaching your child to do laundry rather than feeling frustrated that they aren’t helping. Pick laughing, and snuggling, and reminding them that they are safe.
If you are stressed, lower your expectations where you can and virtually reach out for social connection. We are in this together to stay well. That means mentally well, too.
Seeing The Silver Lining
I was in the midst of being overwhelmed by our new normal when I read the above post from our favorite child and family psychologist, Dr. Emily King. Wow, did I need to hear these words. All those color-coded schedules I had made? Already trashed. Work I was trying to get done without being interrupted? Not happening. I had set my expectations too high and so it was easy to feel like I was failing at every job I had.
In talking with Dr. King on our podcast, we gained a better perspective. This time, which is overwhelming for adults, doesn’t have to be for our kids. They may remember not being able to play with friends or rescheduling a trip, but they will also remember family walks, crafts, and being together. When parents feel happy and stable, it trickles down to their kids. Therefore it is my responsibility to make sure I take care of my mental health for my family.
Establishing a New Routine
During your time at home, make sure you prioritize sleep, exercise, nutrition, and socialization. Socialization could be achieved through regular video chats with friends and family members. Dr. King also talks about integrating life skills into your daily routine with your kids. When we are short on time, we often don’t teach our kids how to do work around the house because it’s faster if we do it ourselves. Now is the time to invest in showing them how.
Dr. King and her boys put together an awesome Family Chores Spirit Week not only to help remember what day it was, but also to establish a routine teaching life skills. (Download the PDF below to try this out at your house and tell us how it goes!)
Listen to the rest of our conversation and other tips around screen time, distance learning, and how to deal with big emotions. Remember to be kind to yourself and flexible. We’re all in this impossible situation together.
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