Families, you are suddenly home together for a long time. Not only is everyone home, but many are confused and scared. As an added bonus, we are also going to work from home while homeschooling!
Let’s take a collective deep breath. IN like you’re smelling a flower, OUT like you’re blowing up a balloon… Once again now.
Talk about it. Normalize fear right now, it is a natural response. Of course you are afraid, of course your children are too. We don’t need to bathe in fear, but we do need to recognize it. Name it to tame it, as Dr. Daniel Siegel, co-author of The Whole Brained Child, says. Talk about your feelings and suddenly they become a little less overwhelming.
Adjust your expectations. Any level of conflict that is normal for your family will be amplified under this pressure. Expect it. Just don’t live in it. This is a great time to practice apologizing and redos. A redo is when we get to try again after we made a mistake – kids and parents alike. Rude tone? Try that one again, this time with a nicer tone! None of us are at our best right now, so let’s give one another space for that. We need to turn toward one another, not away.
Create a schedule. Plan a routine that will work for your family, and be prepared to adjust it as needed. A written schedule that your children can see will provide some predictability and peace of mind during this chaotic time. Balance responsibility during the day (chores, school work) with time for free play. Notice if your child is sensitive to too much screen time (increased tantrums, shorter fuse) and limit as needed.
Play with your kids. Get out board games and toys. Put your phone in another room and dedicate time to playing together. Play disarms fear and helps create stronger connections.
Parents, take care of yourselves. The importance of your mental health during this time cannot be exaggerated. Your ability to regulate yourself, be self aware, hopeful, and maintain a bit of normalcy will make a tremendous difference for your children.
Some things that will help you balance your mental health:
- Take a walk alone
- Meditate – you don’t have to be an expert to benefit (try the free Insight Timer app).
- Yoga (try Yoga with Adriene, free on YouTube).
- Create something (maybe art or delicious food).
- Social media and news breaks – notice how you feel after you read the news or social media. If the deluge of information and speculation increases your anxiety, take intentional breaks for hours or days at a time.
- Take good care of your body and be mindful about sugar and alcohol. While they might make you feel good initially, too much will have a negative impact on your mood.
- Drop the guilt – you’ll make mistakes. Do the best you can and find peace in that.
- Reach out for help – we have a team of therapists who are available safely through video sessions.
Let’s take this little by little. The best thing we can do right now is take good care of ourselves and the people around us.
Jennifer Cardine, MA, MHC
Clinical Psychotherapist – Children & Family Specialist, Nourish Your Mind
Need some extra emotional support during this uncertain time? We’re here for you. We are remaining open during this time and also offering video sessions for anyone who is choosing to stay home. Please reach out if you need someone to talk to or are in need of resources.
Call or Text (845) 547-0479 / [email protected]