So you’re stuck with your children at home for nobody-knows-how-many weeks to come and you’re starting to feel anxious? Let me help you consider this whole situation from another point of view. What’s happening is an awful situation we wouldn’t have thought for a minute that could be real. That’s something I think everyone agrees. But let’s take a look at your personal situation. You’re the one at home with kids, so get a bit selfish for a minute and do this quick checkup:
- Are your physiological needs satisfied? Do you have food, water, etc?
- Do you feel safe? You don’t have to go out and take care of sick people in hospitals?
- Can you work from home? Has your company made it possible for you to work remotely?
- Are you spending this weird lockdown time with your family? So you don’t feel lonely?
If your answer is yes to all four questions, let me recap what your situation looks like: You’re with your family at home, where you feel safe. You can keep on working, so you haven’t lost your job. You have all your vital needs covered.
Now, I’m not going to compare you to all those other people who are going through an objectively harder situation. People who’ve lost their jobs, who are alone at home, or who are feeling scared because they have to go out there and fight this virus. Nope. That would be too easy.
Instead, I’d like to show you what you are missing right now by not enjoying (as much as it goes) this new situation we have to cope with.
What you’ll miss if you spend all these weeks complaining:
Who would have told you that you were going to be able to spend so much time with your kids? If your life looks somewhat similar to mine, your mornings are stressful. Do you really miss the hectic stress in the mornings to go to school? To arrive on time at work?
And what about dinner? “Eat your dinner – put on your PJs – wash your teeth – go to bed – turn off that light and get asleep – you’re going to be too tired in the morning – get asleep – get asleeeeep!!!…” And repeat the next day.
You miss it? Really? I don’t. Not a bit.
For those with teenagers at home: They may be going through a hard couple of years, yes. Dealing with them isn’t easy. I hear you! And this lockdown isn’t helping either, but you know what? Why don’t we make this an extraordinary opportunity to spend time with them? They can’t go out either, so take that chance to get to know him/her better. And let them get to know you as a person – not only as a mom. Before you realize, they’ll be gone to live their own life!
Creating a holiday feeling
Listen, I know that this doesn’t feel like holidays (homeschooling, anyone??). But why not acting as if it were? Mini holidays where the whole family can enjoy more free time to spare (no more soccer games, swimming lessons or birthday parties!) – even though everyone has to take care of their own homework (children) remote work (parents).
Just taking half an hour after lunch to play some board games together can do wonders! We’re loving Risk and Carcassone (the traditional and the Star Wars versions!). This time we spend together relaxing and not thinking about anything else but to conquer territories on the board works like a magic wand for us!
Let them help you cook. Make it a fun activity! How? Just turn the music on and sing while chopping peppers! Or make it sushi Saturday – We love it!
About spontaneous homeschooling
Homeschooling is not for everyone. Especially for those who have never done it before, and now they have to. No questions asked. So if you suddenly have to take care of school, don’t fight it. What does it help you? Nothing!
So my suggestion is for you to take the first hours of your children’s morning to help them plan their school tasks. And I say “help them plan”. I didn’t say “plan for them”. Of course, you’ll have to take the lead, but let them also help you understand what they need and like. They may be not up for maths early in the morning, but you also now that the earlier they do their maths, the better. After lunch, they’ll be typically tired, right? So why not find the sweet spot together? Maybe maths as a second task in the morning?
What I’m personally realizing is how good my oldest is getting at planning. I’ve never had that time to plan with her before. When she comes back from school, she’s way too tired to listen to me talking about to-do lists. But now we all get our chance to teach them how to schedule their day and set priorities! By the way, I’m well aware that I’m sounding like a planning freak right now… But guess what – I am! 😀
Each one of us has to find her system, but make yourself a favor a do take your time to find yours. A system you feel comfortable with. As I usually work with Asana for my projects, I tested it with my daughter. And it’s worked!! She loves it, and I love to see what she’s doing without her noticing it.
Planning your kids’ day with them will also help you make sure that they understand what they gotta do. So they’ll work more independently – and hopefully, they won’t be interrupting you every five minutes. If you need some tips about your own organization and planning when working from home when kids are around, visit this post and let me know what you think!
Take this lockdown-time with your family as an opportunity
There will be moments when some of us are going to get nervous. 100%. Use those moments. Tell them how it is normal to get nervous. That you totally get it. But also emphasize how important it is to support each other. Not to make the other one nervous. Breathing exercises or yoga can do wonders!
I see this as an extraordinary time to evolve as a family. It may not be easy, but it doesn’t have to be a madhouse either. As long as we adults keep calm, children will feel it and keep calm, too – well, everyone to the limit of their possibilities 😀
Take the chance to address any living-together issues as a challenge for your family as a team. A team that has to stay at home and where every member has to contribute with respect and generosity to overcome this challenge. Because you know what? This situation is going to disappear sooner or later, and you won’t want to miss it!
PS. Are you born to freelance?