Updated: May 1, 2020
After a recent parenting workshop, I started to consider how some younger children may be experiencing this time at home in a very different way than we would have expected.
Pre-COVID-19 our children had a basic framework around daily schedules and spending time with family. Parents would be there when they woke up, we would help get them ready for school, feed them, pack up their lunch and school bag and send them off with kisses and wishes for a fun day.
Our children would then spend the day with teachers who set a schedule for stability, who engage them in learning, and who share knowledge to help them grow. They would spend time with friends, laughing, playing games, sharing silly stories and being kids. The school would provide them with snacks, downtime, learning and socializing opportunities.
After a full day away, our children would return to us with stories of their daily adventures. We would love them, cuddle them and listen to their tales from the day.
Pre COVID-19 we would go to work, see different faces, have meetings, deal with challenges, meet deadlines, chat with co-workers, do some online shopping and maybe even run some errands before heading home. At the end of the day, we would feel a sense of accomplishment from all we achieved.
After a full day away, we would come home to the smiles of our children. We would catch up with the family, deal with dinner, listen to our children, do the laundry, get them ready for bed, wash the dishes, share a bedtime story, and finally, finally, get a moment for ourselves.
While this may not be your exact picture, for many families there was a large part of the day when parents and children had a break from each other, when children were out of the house, away from your care, when you were out of the house away from that responsibility.
In other words, pre-COVID-19, we had natural breaks apart from our children.
Post-COVID-19 we are together ALL THE TIME, with no break.
From our children's perspective now that we are home all day, they are thinking that we have all day to entertain them. Not only is this not realistic for most parents, sometimes we just need a break, especially those who are still working, but it’s also not sustainable for the long term either.
We love our children but it's not always easy. If this is our new normal, how do we deal with it? How can we lessen the anxiety in ourselves and our children? How can we take care of our own needs? How can we find life lessons for our children during these times?
Check back in the following weeks when I’ll be sharing information around parenting, including setting Routines to ensure a stable, productive environment for you and your children, Special Times when you can give your child the time they want while giving yourself the time you need and Positive Time Out where everyone can go to take a well-deserved break, separately.
ref: Positive Discipline by Lynn Lott and Jane Nelson