Keep those lines of communication with your kids open- even when it's tough!
Welcome back! Over the past month, Sarah and I have been coming to you twice a week with encouraging words and ideas to help you and your family cope with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that you have discovered some useful tips and have thought about how to incorporate them into your daily life, now and in the future. Starting next week, Sarah and I will be going back to weekly posts, so look for a new post every Tuesday! Don’t forget to sign up for our email list so you won’t miss a single word.
On Tuesday, Sarah wrote about Positive Psychology and the benefits of looking for awe-inspiring moments. Hopefully, you’ve taken time to do that and to find ways to pay it forward by helping other people. Today, we’re looking at ways to help each other at home.
One way you and your family can take care of each other is to get everyone involved in taking care of your home. Everyone in your house has a stake in making it a nice place to live. But, let’s be honest. You’ve been cooped up in the house for weeks, so things like chores and housekeeping may have fallen by the wayside in the service of getting school and work done. It may sound counterproductive but having everyone help get the house in order is actually beneficial. It takes some of the weight off your shoulders and it gives your kids a sense of ownership over their home. Also, it will be easier for everyone to relax and feel more comfortable at home when chores aren’t hanging over your heads.
So, think about ways your kids can help out at home. Here’s the catch- your kids probably aren’t going to do things the way you do them or exactly when you would like them done. Do they have to? Let them help with the things that you feel comfortable letting go. If you have a specific way of doing the laundry and it’s going to drive you bananas if they mess it up, don’t get them to do that. But if your kid will do the dishes but waits until right before bed to do them, does it really matter as long as they get done?
Okay, your family is taking care of the house by cleaning up. So, now that the chores are out the way and your house is feeling more livable, what next? Well, how about taking care of each other? Think about things you can all do for one another to make life more pleasant or show how much you love each other.
I’m sure you’ve noticed times when your kids are being really sweet to one another or when they spontaneously offer to help you with something. The families I work with have told me about many of their positive interactions and have described great things about one another that they hadn’t paid much attention to before. It’s amazing to see the change that comes over a mom during a session when we switch from talking about the things that have gone wrong to the great things her kids have done. I bet that’s true for you and your kids too.
What if you take it a step further? Instead of just noticing positive actions from your kids, what if you went looking for them?
I’m giving you a challenge… Drumroll please!
Over the next few days, look for things your kids (and your spouse/partner) do that make you happy, proud, impressed, pleased, less stressed, etc. Then- and here’s the important part- share that with them. That’s right, let them know when they’ve done something that made you feel good. In fact, get everyone in on this. As a family, start sharing the positive things you notice about one another each day. Maybe over dinner or at bedtime, you can take turns telling one another all the great things you noticed about each other that day. If you want to kick it up a notch, tell them as soon as it happens. Notice how much closer you feel to one another and how much you appreciate each other. Spread a little love at home, let yourself be in awe of your amazing family, and see how much better you feel.
Tell us how you and your family take up the challenge! Leave a comment, click this link or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a printable version of this post.
As a reminder, we have an amazing handout for families with information about COVID-19 that you may find helpful when speaking with your kids. Click here to take a look.
Feel free to peruse our blog and see what Sarah and Lisa had to say about topics related to your needs as a busy parent. We will talk about everything from parenting values, to life hacks, to realistic self-care.