I’ve learned something about myself during this stretch at home; I’m not very good at asking for help. Never have been, really. But like you, I’m trying to find a balance between working, homeschooling, worrying, trying to maintain normalcy, keeping our family healthy…all the things. And more than anything else; praying this experience doesn’t negatively impact our tiny human. Here are some resources I’ve researched, put into practice, and have proven to be incredibly helpful for our preschooler (and our sanity!):
- Ask the Experts. Thankfully, people who are far more qualified than I am have the answers to all the worries on our mind. Janet Lansbury’s Unruffled podcast has been especially helpful. This episode in particular had so many good nuggets. If you can only listen for a few minutes, start it at the 31:00 mark. I also loved her take on what parents can do today to make our lives easier. Hint: she says we are not our children’s playmates. Interesting!
- Patience. I can use more of this (in a large dose please 😆). Watch one of these videos with your partner in parenting and I guarantee it will help your mindset. Even if only to calm your nerves with his soothing voice. Dr. Paul is especially helpful in actionable tips to stop arguing with your children. His 2 choices method has worked wonders for us!
- Feel the feelings. Both experts mentioned above (and countless others I’ve read) encourage parents to be open and supportive of all the feelings of our children, all the time, but especially now when their worlds have been turned upside down. Truly being a safe haven for them without judgment to allow them to yell or cry, be sad, act out their frustration (in a safe way); without dismissing their feelings or shushing them away. The safer they feel with us, the faster they will be able to move through their emotions and develop emotional resilience.
- We don’t have to actually teach. I have mixed feelings about this one. It’s nice to be given “permission” that we don’t have to stick to the stringent homeschool schedule we put in place on Day 1 of quarantine life. Not every day, and not every situation allows for it. But I will say – days that I follow it; Grey is better behaved, knows what to expect, and truly thrives on the excitement of learning/ trying something new. There is no greater feeling than watching your child transform before you, and having that one on one time with them.
- Finding JOY. Grey told me the other day that he really missed family dates. Getting dressed up and going out to eat together. Same, buddy, same. So this week, Jon and I decided to plan a family date night. We’re not going to tell him where we’re going, we’re going to get dressed up, pile into the car, and head to one of his favorite spots downtown. Since we can’t dine in, we’re going to order takeout, park the car in one of our old haunts in the city, and set the trunk up for a picnic. If we can plan these sweet surprises, it gives us all something to look forward to, and it’s another way to not just find the joy, but make the joy during this crazy time.
What has been helpful for your family? Please consider sharing in the comments below so we can all benefit from your wisdom. In my opinion, there will never be enough tips, or love, or Moscow mules 😉.