"What do my kids need?" Parenting In this Season of Pandemic.
2 weeks into the Covid 19 pandemic I was at the end of my parenting rope. The kids were being overly emotional and I was tired of the constant bickering and tattling. I picked up my phone and called Bryan. I began to explain the current environment of our home, he asked me "What do you think the kids need?"
This was a normal question to ask. Often when one of our children shows signs of frustration, is extra-emotional or seems to be seeking out negative attention, we try to recognize their needs and what their behaviour is communicating. Is their love bucket empty? Are they tired? Have they been eating normally? However, I remember so clearly stating to Bryan on the phone that day, "They need normal". Sadly, I could not give them normal. I decided instead to focus on what I could give them.
I can give them structure. My children are used to a very structured day, especially the children who go to school. I'm not a huge fan of a strict schedule, however I recognized that I could make a daily schedule for my kids for Monday-Friday to help them know what is coming next in their day and to create a sense of routine. Some days we throw the schedule out the window and play outside all day but overall it has helped with schooling at home & has brought more peace into our home.
I can also give them work to do. Playing all day with their siblings and watching movies is fun, it doesn't keep our home tidy & comfortable. I needed to give them some new work challenges. We normally have chore expectations for our children, so we made sure to include regular chores & some extra tasks to challenge them. This also created a sense of belonging - team work - as we tidy, sort laundry, bake together & meal plan. These are life lessons that will benefit them long after the pandemic. It also helps bond our family together with simple common goals.
I can give them my attention. This could be a tricky one as I have 4 kids aged 2-9. I noticed my school-aged kids would do their school work better if I stayed engaged in what they were learning instead of getting busy with daily tasks or reading a book. There are times for independent learning but our attention as parents is a gift we can give our children even if it's just for a short period of time. Never underestimate the influence your attention can be for your child.
I can give them adventure. This one takes some creativity. We decided to order ethnic food for supper one night and before it came we learned about the country it was from. We put up an indoor swing. We went on scavenger hunts. We tried new recipes for baking. We did photo shoots. We took time to hike together. We learned how to chop down a tree with an axe. I'm still seeking out different ideas for inexpensive home & pandemic safe adventures. Fun is one of the best ways to fill your home with joy.
I can give them grace. Their normal got turned upside down, they miss their friends & teachers, so I decided that there will be times when I say, no more school work. Sometimes I let them watch more TV just for fun, I snuggle them instead of doing my daily tasks, I teach them it's okay to take a quiet time if they are frustrated, I cook them a special meal they like because I can see they are having a bad day. I give them extra grace when I notice they are extra emotional. This is a difficult season for adults and we need to recognize that our children are struggling too.
I can give them hope. The influence over our children as parents is huge. No matter if your child is 2 or 32, being a parent is such an important role. They are looking to us to know how to handle this current situation. What are they seeing from you? Hope? Frustration? Anger? Acceptance? Peace? Positivity? I know there have been moments for myself where I have failed, I have lost my temper; however, my goal during this season is for my children to know that there is hope, love, peace and joy, and it all comes from the Lord.
Our family is trying to embrace this season together, bond closer together, learn together, and form lasting memories together. Most importantly, we are learning to put our Hope in God together.
Plus laughter! Don't forget to give them lots of laughter!
Enjoy the moments,