4 – Make plans for quality time
Outings may be scarce, and vacations even scarcer. But you can still intentionally create space for spending individual quality time with each of your children…and time together as a family! When stress is high and schedules tight, special connecting time is even more necessary and valuable.
So budget some minutes for meaningful, slowed down, child-centered time every day. Investing in listening to your child will make it easier to recognize and validate your child’s (and your own) struggles. When you spend time deliberately connecting with your kids, you’ll also “tune-in” to their emotional states as well.
Which brings me to my last point…
5 – Help your kids process their thoughts and emotions
While everyone in a family may experience similar life events, we don’t all react and respond to our circumstances the same way. What may not be as obvious is that children’s brains haven’t developed enough to easily make sense of all their (sometimes both conflicting and simultaneous) thoughts and feelings.
In the same moment, they may be sad that they can’t see their friends, but also feel scared about the future. As a parent, you are in a unique position to make space for them to name their feelings. You can explore and validate their expressed opinions about events they’re witnessing and experiencing. And what a blessing it is to help your child feel heard and understood.
So that’s it, you’re now totally prepared now for back to school…not! It’s going to be a wild ride. But what you do have are some new ways of approaching all the challenges 2020-21 will throw at you.
Remember you are not alone. Families all around the world are doing their best to navigate—albeit clumsily—through this pandemic. Find your tribe. Share your sob stories and successes together. And hopefully, you now have some tools for navigating the school year ahead to make it a successful one!