Parents Make a Difference
We are adjusting to our new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. Prevention and taking care of ourselves have never been more important. As parents, we often measure our value by being able to fix things for our kids. We can’t fix this situation. This can be incredibly frustrating and paralyzing. We can however, recognize and focus on what we can control.
We are adjusting to our new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. Prevention and taking care of ourselves have never been more important.
As parents, we often measure our value by being able to fix things for our kids. We can’t fix this situation. This can be incredibly frustrating and paralyzing. We can however, recognize and focus on what we can control.
What can we do to help ourselves and our children? Let’s try being a coach instead of a fixer.
What do coaches do? They guide, instruct, encourage participation, offer praise and set rules. These principles help to reduce stress, process what’s going on, and help youth find their own resilience and capacity to integrate change.
*Slow down and make decisions thoughtfully, not based on fear.
*Provide space for children to release their apprehensions. We need to be able to release feelings of sadness and anxiety, and talk about feelings.
*Avoid judging feelings as right or wrong. Some feelings are uncomfortable, but they exist.
*Establish short-term goals. Some days all we can commit to is getting out of bed and doing the bare minimum.
*Talk about the good we are seeing in the world: kindness being exhibited, care for others and our earth having time to heal.
*Focus on things we can control. We may not be able to control this virus, but we can control our reaction to it.
*Maintain a schedule. Routine helps us feel grounded. Avoid judging how your children are spending their time.
*Help enforce good sleep patterns. It’s recommended that we turn off electronics 60 minutes before bed to give our brains a chance to unwind.
*Designate a time to complete school work and have your kids maintain to-do lists. Allow them to make their own schedule.
*Hold family meetings to discuss what is going well.
*Enjoy meals together. We have time to do this now.
*Teach your children to be self-advocates by asking open-ended questions. “How did that work out for you?” or What might need to be tweaked next time?”
*Engage your children in learning life skills: how to do laundry, how to make a meal and how to clean. Explore time management skills, managing money, creating budgets, drug and alcohol use, sexual assault and voice your values.
*Give your children space to be alone. Don’t hover. They don’t need to be scheduled 12 hours a day. The definition of productivity may look different right now.
*Understand that use of technology it is the only way our kids can be social right now. It’s a huge part of where they are developed mentally, but set boundaries.
*Have fun and take time to laugh.
Parents live their lives in front of their children. Conscientious parents are aware their actions take place under the steady gaze of impressionable children.
Kids look to parents for cues on how they should feel about situations. Meditate, exercise, sleep, eat healthy foods, take a time out, explain your coping skills and share them with your kids. Remark on things that work for you.
Children need to see positive ways we cope with stress. It’s not easy, but doable. I always tell myself I can do anything for one day.
Terry Budlong is the Director of Prevention Services for MCCA and Chair for Stand Together Make a Difference.