READ THIS IF YOU HAVE SCHOOL AGE KIDDOS AND/OR TEENS
Talk, talk, and talk. Have a chat about how the kids think parents can help them develop these values and the habits that go with them. Start with brainstorming and then move to develop some concrete rules around conduct and behaviour in the home. Parents, be vulnerable. Share how it is hard for you to maintain the self-discipline to “walk the walk” every day. Share your struggles and make yourself human. This is especially applicable to parents of school-age children and teens. Let your kids contribute! LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN, parents. You will learn a lot about your kids if you ask them to contribute and you exercise your parenting muscle to set boundaries that fit your values. Stand strong. The kids will resist. But it is time to re-define normal and re-set the boundaries in your home.
READ THIS IF YOU HAVE LITTLES
Parents of little ones are not getting a break from parenting. It is little ones, sun up (or before) to sundown (or after). You have lost your extended family connections and external supports such as daycare, and you and the kids are feeling this. Think about using technology to help foster the connection, and hopefully give you a break. Have grandma read a book or tell a story on facetime, do regular activities over facetime that your kids enjoy…baking, colouring and crafting. ASK. FOR. HELP. Don’t be a hero. Ask those who you love for some facetime or an ear. Talk about what you are feeling. Share these thoughts with your support system. But try not to focus on the negative too much. Tell friends and family about the funny stuff the kids did, and listen to their stories as well. We know this isn’t much. We know this isn’t the level of connection you have enjoyed. But we have to focus on re-defining our expectations.
Talk to your spouse, or even text when you have a free minute, as you might not get a good chunk of time to hash out this heavy stuff. Even little tidbits of info will help you develop a better understanding of your values as a couple, the discrepancies you may note from your families of origin and then develop a value system that is right for YOUR family.
Time for a reminder here. What we are all being asked to do right now is REALLY, REALLY HARD.