Feeling Frustrated, Exhausted and Not Sure How Much More You Can Manage?
If you are feeling frustrated, exhausted and not sure of how much more you can manage, help is here! Take a look at these several ways to hang on to your sanity while your kids continue learning from home.
Kids aren’t the only ones who need recess. Taking breaks is critical for parents, too. The better you take care of yourself, the more productive and mentally well you are for your children.
Set up your bedroom or another space in your house, even a small one, as a private place for you to decompress. It may even be the bathtub, or a 15 minute “time-out” in your bedroom.
Set your alarm and have a 30 minute early coffee and breakfast time for yourself before the school day starts.
Start a daily “rest hour” for your family. Carve out 30 minutes for quiet, independent play/down-time. It may not be ideal, but older kids can help younger sibs do puzzles, read, listen to music and play . This is your time to read, rest and regroup!
Virtual play dates can be arranged ahead of time. Take the time for yourself while your kids have fun with friends.
Grandparents and family friends are terrific resources to help your kids with homework and emotional support. They can “take the kids”on field trips to great museums and events around the world, as well are reading stories to them. ( caribu.com)
Many virtual education stressors stem from a lack of communication. Be sure to keep open lines of communication with your partner, close family and friends, as well as your child’s teachers, and school administrators. Ask the teacher for a private call or video conference as a “check-in” to see how your child is doing with virtual learning. Ask about your child’s IEP- are accommodations working? Share the load of homework with a partner or virtual adult or teen friend or family member.
Check-in with your kids- how are they doing emotionally? Take them for a quiet walk with a treat and casually find out how they are feeling.
Model for your kids. At the dinner table start a family “Highs and Lows” share each day or so. You start. What’s going well and what isn’t. No judgments!
Choose someone you can trust with your true feelings and don’t hold back. Arrange a walk with a friend or family member, or set up a virtual call when the kids are in bed or having a playdate. Keep connecting. If you are feeling really overwhelmed, don’t wait to reach out for professional help. There is no shame- we are all in this together. Contact a trusted health care provider.
Celebrate the Wins
You’re juggling a lot right now. Regardless of the size of your family or whether you’re working or not, switching to online education is a significant stressor for everyone.
Try to focus on the wins, no matter how small. Did your child accomplish a new task, help out at home, or achieve an academic goal? Share your own accomplishments with your family and friends as well.
Acknowledge the positives and be proud of yourself for dealing with a difficult situation in more positive ways. Research shows that hope and optimism promotes mental and physical well-being.
Above all else, children need to know they are supported, so make time for more one-on-one conversations to stay close through these changing times.
Don’t Take It Out on the Kids
As you manage increased stress levels around online schooling, perhaps the most important principle of all is this: Don’t take it out on your kids.
You and your children are in this together. No child deserves any additional anxiety from parents melting down. Be honest with them that you are doing the best that you can to help them.
Every school has a social worker or student service professional. Reach out to the principal or vice-principal and ask for a call right away. They are a great resource and can support parents as well as kids.
Make a family Plan. Meet with your family weekly to share a few ideas to create a healthy, calmer co-working situation while everyone is learning and working from home. Post the “family agreement” on the fridge and help remind each other of the goals.
Finally, turn off the news feed and try to avoid social media. It can easily overtake you and your kids. We are on the “other side of the mountain.” We will get to a better place.
Nancy Lerner, B.Ed., M.A.