Keep those lines of communication with your kids open- even when it's tough!
It’s almost mid-May. Normally, kids all over the country would be well into their last-day-of-school countdown. Families would normally be putting the finishing touches on their summer vacation plans and locking in their kids’ final summer camp plans. But we aren’t dealing with normal right now. And we aren’t quite sure when life will be back to normal again. In addition to wreaking havoc on the health, economy and education of our world, COVID-19 has really put the future into question. There’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty about how things will unfold in the coming weeks and months. It brings to mind that quote: “The best laid plans of mice and men go awry.” The best laid plans of moms and dads, of kids, of college students…all the best laid summer plans have flown out the window. So…now what?
Sarah here. Like so many families out there, my family and I are knee deep in this “best laid plans” situation. That summer beach trip we planned for the week after school gets out…
The summer camp we’ve had lined up for months…
Now, don’t get me wrong. These are not life and death issues. There are so many more serious things going on in the world right now. But, in our world and I’m guessing in yours, plans falling apart can certainly create a lot of stress, frustration, disappointment, tension and conflict. When you’ve been looking forward to something and it falls through…it’s crummy. Spring and Summer 2020 plans being called off is no one’s fault. It is what it is. But, think about how upset you feel that things fell through. As an adult, you have age, wisdom, experience, maturity and higher-level cognitive functioning on your side. Now, try to imagine what that might be like for your kid(s). They’re dealing with the same situations but with far fewer resources. So, yeah…it may get ugly when you break the news that the big summer vacation has been cancelled.
There isn’t a perfect way to talk with your kid(s) about massive changes to summer plans. But there are some things that might make it go a little more smoothly.
This is a challenging situation but remember that you aren’t the only one going through it. It doesn’t necessarily make everything better, but it may feel a little easier to seek social support from family, friends, neighbors and coworkers if you realize that they’re probably dealing with the same things. It’s okay to feel flustered or upset or disappointed that plans have fallen through. So, even though you may feel bad or guilty about your kids being upset, remember that it’s not your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. When best laid plans go awry, have compassion for your family and for yourself. Model perspective taking and cognitive flexibility. And, know that at some point, things will get better.
Tell us how you and your family are dealing with summer plans falling through. 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.