We have been in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic for about a month now and we are at the point where it is essential to start trying to figure out how to make this feel normal for us, and our kids. The disruption of routines can cause a lot of stress in both adults and children so sticking to healthy habits and routines as a family is important. It doesn’t have to be extremely structured, it can even feel more like a daily “rhythm”, but you need some type of structure for your brain to not be scattered. If you feel scattered, this situation will feel even more out of control then it is. I tell my clients that you can’t control what goes on outside, but you can control what goes on internally and that starts with the choices you make with your habits.
Your Overwhelm is Valid
I completely understand the overwhelm right now. I myself work full time and have two children that are schooling from home and it has been a difficult adjustment. But creating structure and routine has been the most important part of keeping my family happy, healthy, and feeling some sense of normalcy. Routines won’t be exactly the same as before, but you still need one. Having a loose structure of a routine makes everyone on the same page about what is expected throughout the day. Keep in mind that parents are the thermometer for the anxiety kids feel. If we are scattered, anxious, and stressed they will be too. It is our job to stay as calm, and normal throughout all of this.
Kids need a schedule, but you also need time for yourself to get done what you need to while working from home. Let the kids sleep in but you can wake up early to get work done before they wake up.
Start the Day off Right
Make sure your kids are getting ready, making their bed, eating breakfast, then brushing their teeth every morning like they would before school starts. Moms also need to get ready and make their bed! You will feel so much better if you are not in loungewear all day and make those little efforts to stay in a routine.
Free Online Resource – Printable Schedule
Quick + Easy Lunch / Dinner Suggestions
(BONUS – Try to eat outside if it’s available to you)
- Pasta with veggies and chicken sausage
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with banana
- Tuna sandwiches
- Loaded sweet potato
- Meat & veggie chili
- Burritos or Burrito bowls
- Chicken tacos
- Chicken Alfredo pasta with broccoli
- Bean Quesadillas
Add Lots of Outdoor / Active Time
Let your kids go outside as much as your schedule allows, this will lessen restlessness later at night. Fresh air will be beneficial mentally too and improve concentration for the times they are learning. Family walks can be a great addition to the daily routine, even if they are short. Getting out of the house is essential for everyone to have a clear head and a calm mind.
Utilize the Time after your Kids Go to Bed and Before They Wake Up
For parents – getting proper sleep and having your own routine is important. Try to fit a little bit of movement a day in even if it is just for 10-20 minutes. Use this time to make sure your mental health is on point. Mindfulness is such a good tool to use to be the best version of yourself during this time. Be aware of your own beliefs about this period and habitual behaviors so that you can change them if they are not benefiting you during this time. Ground yourself in the mornings before your kids wake up with meditation, journaling, or reading scripture.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
Parents might want to cut down screen time, but just do the best you can. Screen time can involve many positive learning opportunities or chances to connect with relatives. Maybe a grandparent would love to read a book to your child or help them with their math homework. Don’t feel like extra screen time says anything about you as a parent or your ability to cope with this situation. You have to look out for yourself and your mental health first so that it translates into the quality of energy you give your kids.
Look on the Bright Side
Many times, when you are at work do you feel like you are missing out on valuable time with your kids? Think about this when things start to get tough. Be grateful for the extra time spent with your kids, they might end up having very fond memories of this time they spent extra time with you. They also might look back on this time and admire how well you handled it, staying calm, and keeping the family regulated. This experience can teach kids about self-efficacy, how to be more flexible, and how to deal with feelings of boredom or sadness. These are all critical life skills.
Use these Affirmations When Feeling Overwhelmed:
1. I cherish this extra time I get to spend with my family and doing new things with my kids.
2. I am doing the best I can.
3. I set the tone in the family, and I choose for it to be positive.
4. I am grateful we are all safe, together, and healthy.
5. I am grateful to be here for my kids during this time.
Extra Help Is Available
I hope some of these tips help you redirect your energy if you are feeling anxious. Again, feelings of unease are totally normal and fine! What matters more is how we handle these feelings to set a good example for the rest of the family. If you notice extra anxiety in someone you love during this time or if you yourself is having anxiety, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation. Now is an amazing time to work towards your mental health and the habits you build during this time. Your life will go back to normal, but YOU will be a better version of yourself.