Spring is finally here. The days stay lighter longer, the weather is getting warmer and the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. The advent of spring brings a sense of renewal; optimism is emerging.
This was possibly the toughest year for parents. We were challenged in ways that were anything but typical; working & living in the bubbles of our homes with our children. For many of us who’s children did not go back to school, this was a 24/7 adventure!
How can we use this time of renewal to do a “check- in” of what we learned during this time of quarantine and what if anything do we want to take forward with us? As I’ve mentioned before, the quarantine has also brought us many lessons and some gifts in which we can now reflect.
Anyone who has worked with me knows, I’m a big proponent of the “family meeting”. I call them regularly in my own home. This allows everyone to have a voice in many elements of the household. You can hold a family meeting around schedules, the changing of routines, assigning household chores, talking about the upcoming week’s calendar and getting on the same page. It also gives your children an opportunity to voice their feelings & talk to you about their lives. It gives them great practice in both airing their feelings and being heard. It’s in these moments of connection where families can bond, learn and grow with one another.
I’d suggest holding a family meeting and asking the question, “Was our old life working”? “Were we too overscheduled”? “What, if anything do we want to bring forward after the pandemic”?
Make a list of what to bring forward. This could be a regular routine that you might have started during quarantine, “Game Nights”, “Movie Nights”, or maybe new family rituals, or outdoor activities that you enjoyed.
Have regular check-ins. Many kids & even adults may be experiencing anxiety about going back to school, or being social again. The thought of going back to their sports teams, or other activities might be making them feel uncomfortable.
Watch out for feelings of grief. Your kids could be suppressing feelings of loss. There was much that they lost in this last year. If your kids are still young, you can start by talking about things that you felt you lost in this past year. This can assist them to talk. If you have teenagers who don’t want to talk, or participate in this activity, ask them to take some time and journal their feelings. Be on the lookout for signs of any overt sadness or depression. Or, lack of interest in being social, wanting to isolate. It could be a sign of something greater. You know your child, you are the best observer of their behavior and what might be atypical.
Find pockets of time where you are all “relaxed” together. Often, these are the moments where you can get your kids to talk a bit. They feel less vulnerable and put on the spot.
I’d love to hear from you about any traditions that you may have adopted during this quarantine period. What are some things that you will be bringing forward?