Right now, we are truly living through tricky times - there's no two ways about it. And just like when you're facing any other kind of life challenge, it helps to be prepared and to back yourself with the right kind of support.
At times like this, having a toolkit of things (and people) that can support you is crucial. It's also helpful to remember that doing your best is good enough right now, so forget notions of anything being perfect and just be extra gentle with yourself. Embracing simplicity, letting go of perfection, and keeping yourself and your family healthy and feeling safe should be your biggest life goals right now.
Remember the endless rush of school pick-ups, sport drop-offs, grocery shopping, house cleaning, work and everything else? One good thing about iso is the slower pace of life it has forced. Taking time off the hamster wheel offers a chance to reflect on what’s truly essential, and chances are there are aspects of this radically simplified new normal that kids are enjoying too –more movie nights, wholesome activities and quality family time, for a start. Take some time to jot down the changes you’re grateful for and which ones you might like to keep, going forward.
When it comes to home-schooling structure is king, but many parents –and teachers – will concede that within that structure there also needs to be flexibility. Having a fixed idea of what kids must achieve in a day doesn’t always work out. Remember: this is a tough time emotionally for kids too, so cut them some slack if they’re having an off day. Breaks are important for parents, just as much as kids, so be sure to add in a proper recess and lunchtime plus free time to socialise and connect with friends over Zoom or FaceTime.
When it comes to educating young minds, there’s way more than just schoolwork to learn. Cooking, crafting, making and gardening are all great ways for kids to learn important life skills and improve literacy and numeracy, so teach what you know. Now is a great time for kids to pursue their passions, especially those pursuits they might not otherwise have time for. With so much extra time spent at home, they’ve got a chance to really deep-dive into the things they love, so encourage them in the areas that really light them up.
Adding “full-time teacher” to your resume might not have been part of your plan, and chances are it’s left you feeling stretched and overwhelmed. Know that you’re not alone, and that giving and receiving help is what will make things easier. Staying connected with your school community and other parents will be essential for tackling the inevitable challenges of the home-schooling juggle. Don’t be afraid to outsource some of your day. Set up a regular story-time with grandparents or other family members via FaceTime, watch an educational doco together or go on a virtual excursion.
Pandemic or not, we all need a toolkit of supportive measures that can help us feel calmer and happier when we’re feeling down or under pressure. Incorporating self-care activities into your day-to-day is important for managing stress and dealing with whatever comes our way. When done daily, these activities will likely leave you feeling more calm, centred and resilient. Not sure where to start? Your self-care toolkit might include regular time-out for yourself to exercise, meditate, knit, paint, colour, socialise, be in nature, learn something new, soak in the bath or just read a book.
Looking for more ways to keep the kids engaged at home? Check out our super-fun Boredom Busters for the whole family.
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