May 20, 2021
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Let's all take a few nice, long, deep breaths.
We'll be needing a lot more deep breathing in these coming weeks!
This week's episode is a recording of a live webinar Sara Kuljis & I did earlier this week. Our topic was Creating Structure, Fun, & Connection while we have our kids home and have a whole lot of unstructured time on our hands.
Participants shared many amazing resources, which I have included in this post (scroll down). If you'd prefer a downloadable PDF (with links), use the sign-up box below.
While this is a challenging time, we can also view it as an opportunity to evaluate, do a reset and add in more fun and connection to our family lives.
Please send me your challenges, questions, and feedback. I'd love to connect!
Connection is weaved through everything we do. Try weaving some connection into the structure of your day - a walk with the dog, family dinner, or a nightly game or puzzle are all great options!
The schedule at home will not be the same as at school, and that's okay. But it's good for there to be some predictability. For kids who have synchronous classes, their schedule will be dictated by their online classes. For younger kids, or those who do not have scheduled online classes, consider having guidelines about getting school work done before other activities or in the morning.
Instead of following a rigid schedule, consider using a "Daily Checklist." This allows kids (and parents) some autonomy to choose when to do different things. We're all feeling a lack of control right now, so giving our kids some choices (when possible) is helpful. Audrey's daughter, Gretchen, created a checklist for her high school students that works well for adults, too. It incorporates not just the school work, but the other things that will make us feel emotionally and physically healthy.
I talked with Dr. Jess Shatkin about the "Triumvirate of Good Health" (Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition) in Episode 24. Now's a good opportunity to look at how we (and our kids) are doing in those important areas!
It's also important to attend to your kids' emotional needs during this unsettled time, listening and empathizing with them over their losses and frustrations, some of which may seem trivial from an adult perspective. Rather than discounting their feelings, we need to validate their emotions and show empathy. I made this one-minute video about validating kids' feelings a few years ago. It seems especially applicable right now.
This is also an excellent opportunity to make sure your family
has enough of each of what Challenge Success calls "PDF": Playtime,
Downtime, & Family Time. These are common-sense strategies to
promote health and well-being.
Download Challenge Success PDF for Elementary-Age Kids
Download Challenge Success PDF for Teens
Do some sort of family sharing.
If your family has a faith tradition, consider watching a live-stream of the service or listening to a podcast together.
Exercise together! Get outside if you can to walk, hike, run, or bike. If you have a ping pong table, basketball hoop, or trampoline, take advantage of those resources. Or, stream a fitness or dance video to do together. It could be good for a laugh trying to attempt some new dance or yoga moves!
Cultivate gratitude during these stressful times. With your family, name people, things, experiences and opportunities you are grateful for. Gratitude builds hope, stamina and a kind of “emotional immunity," and helps us feel less alone. Model how to keep moving forward for our children.
Read together. Consider doing a family read aloud of one of your favorite books.
Come up with a hobby or new activity you can try together, either in pairs or as a whole family.
Pull out some games or puzzles. Learn a new card game to play together.
Want more ideas? Check out these resources, curated by Audrey & Sara and shared by webinar participants:
“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
- Corrie Ten Boom