Watching the resilience of our children during this difficult time is not only breathtaking, it’s inspiring. Every day they wake up with smiles on their faces filled with excitement to see what the day has in store for them. They eat their breakfast, laugh and jump incessantly in hopes that their next adventure is going to be better than their last, but in these dark times those adventures are limited. They are limited because of our current situation and as parents we are worried, concerned, fearful of the unknown and in a state of mental exhaustion due to COVID-19. There is a way to push through this while keeping an emotionally healthy foundation for your children and that’s through recognizing your purpose and focusing on some structure.
Put your hand over your heart, feel the pumping in your chest; that’s purpose; don’t allow this situation to take that away from you. During this mentally exhausting time, we need to remember that through the joy and resilience our children show us, they too are confused and wondering why they can’t get together with their friends, why is school cancelled, why can’t they go to the park, and in an effort to keep them sane we limit our response to them by saying, “The world is sick right now.” It sure is, but that doesn’t stop us from being parents, it doesn’t stop our purpose in protecting them, loving them and sharing in their joy. It doesn’t stop your child’s curiosity, their need for engagement or structure and we as parents need to refocus our efforts in making lemonade out of the lemons we have been given.
Structure is key for many of us and the more out of control we feel, the more anxiety ridden we become. You are allowed to feel broken during this time and are allowed to be frustrated and sometimes the need to lock yourself in your bedroom for five minutes is overwhelming, you are entitled to feel that way too. Creating a daily schedule will help bring your family the structure it desperately needs and will help you to overcome some of the anxiety and stress you are feeling. You can choose an hourly schedule or simply create a list of things to do each day. For instance, 8 a.m. yoga and stretching, 9 a.m. breakfast, 10 a.m. read a book, 11 a.m. go for a walk, eat lunch at noon, 1 p.m. practice your letters, math or reading, and the list goes on. You can add a 15-minute meditation session, do a daily scavenger hunt, arts and crafts hour, and can customize your list to fit your family’s needs.
Every year, each season, I create a bucket list for my children. This list includes things to do, places to go, goals to achieve, and as we go through each season, we cross off the things we have done and the goals we have achieved. Although our list has been adjusted to fit the current situation with things to do around the house and goals to achieve at home, this gives our littles purpose and is exciting for them as well.
Through these difficult times it is important to remember our purpose and creating schedules or lists and adding some structure to our day will help us to consistently reach goals, establish our daily purpose and will help our children to recognize theirs as well.
Structure equals sanity, purpose equals the fight to continue during our most challenging times, and just remember, this too shall pass. Don’t forget, always love your littles a little bit more, because the love you share with them, they will share with the world.