Parenting During the Pandemic: How to Keep Calm and Teach Your Kids to Carry On
These are unprecedented times. The coronavirus is shapeshifting our lives into unrecognizable forms.
Schools are closed. Businesses are closing. Working from home is optional for some, while many are facing devastating financial losses. Some will lose their jobs temporarily, some forever. Stocks are down, fear is high.
It is easy to project terror into the future. It is easy to catastrophize. It is get swept away in what-ifs. It is easy to allow the fears of what-could-be etch vivid, nightmarish pictures in our minds.
This virus is out there; that is a fact. It is imperative that every one of us take every precaution to reduce the risk and spread of the disease; that is a fact. Beyond that, we cannot worry this virus into submission. Anxiety will not make this go away.
Even if you are not choosing to talk about the virus around your kids, there is a deafening coronavirus hum. Our kids are looking for reassurance that things will be okay. We can freak out or we can use these wild times as a time to model resiliency. We can do both for sure.
First of all, it helps to remember that kids (and adults for that matter) feel safest when they have boundaries and can predict what is happening next.
Maintaining a schedule can be helpful when we are all jammed into our homes trying to work, go to school, keep focused, and not lose our minds. Have a family meeting (with lots of snacks!) to come up with a schedule that everyone can buy into, leaving time for e-schooling, quiet time for work, creative time, etc.
Getting buy-in from the kids is helpful when it comes time to enforce the schedule, but ultimately you will be the one who has the final word. You are not a cruise director. You are not in charge of boredom relief.
This is a good time to shore up your boundaries as a parent. Come up with a schedule and hold your kids accountable. In the long run, you’ll thank yourself for holding the line. Of course, kids will test the boundaries, they’ll whine and complain ~that’s their job. Your job is to guide them back to the schedule and enforce it. In time, your kids will see you aren’t kidding around. They will be able to predict their day. It will provide a modicum of relief.