The pandemic kind of paused family life and all the activities and now that we are restarting, is this a chance to do things better? And to use your time more wisely? How to pick what’s important and intentionally/mindfully commit to stuff?
Let’s start by saying that the reality of how covid affects families would depend on the sector the parents work in. Of course, everything is harder for our essential workers and their families and less so for the middle class and upper-class families who can work from home. Covid has definitely paused family life, in some positive ways.
1) Parents are traveling less both for business and for leisure. …. This is good for the children. In a healthy family, children are always happiest in their family unit.
2) Family life is more casual and less stressful. There is no rush to get the kids out the door to the next event. if your child spills the milk it’s okay because you have the time to clean it up.
3) The pressure of keeping up with the Joneses has fallen away for the most part. With less personal contact in the office and on the kids’ soccer field, we need not spend as much time in the mirror, at the nail salon etc. That is a good thing physiologically and for the wallet. When we spend more time at home, we need less. It has become an opportunity to consume less and practice minimalism. It’s important for our children to see that we don’t need more things in order to be happy.
4) We are being more attentive to our older parents and to our grandparents. What a wonderful reminder and opportunity. We are calling them more, being more sure their living conditions are good and even spending more time with them. Because I have more time now, I drive 2 hours each way on Sundays to walk with my mom. We are outside and stay socially distant but It has been good for both of us.
5) Some Parents are trying to get more fit. Sales in in-home gym equipment and home meal prep subscriptions are rising. Families are cooking together more often and the children are seeing/learning these habits. Good for both the parent and the child.
6) Parents are being more creative and spending more time outdoors. If your child is learning online and cannot run around the schoolyard, you make a point to schedule outdoor activities and so parents are spending more time outdoors.
7) Organizing is just as important now as it was in the pandemic. Children do not have access to their friends or to the play yard and so parents of children who are learning online need to plan lots of outdoor activities.
8) Children thrive on routines. So keeping a structure at home to balance, work, play, chores, and downtime is even more important. When the outside structure has fallen away, it’s important for everyone to keep a routine at home. This creates security and less anxiety for everyone about what comes next.
9) It’s an opportunity to rebalance work at home for both parents. Now that both parents are working from home it opens up the conversation about the work that is required to run the home, the invisible work now becomes apparent to the parent who was away from the home for the better part of the day. It’s an opportunity to see, appreciate, and share the workload.
10) The pandemic has forced us to be more efficient in choosing when we go out. More families are moving to grocery shopping once a week, instead of running to the store after work to pick up food for dinner. Grocery shopping once a week saves time and money. It helps us to slow down, plan, meal prep and results in less food waste. More family mealtime, more time together:)
11) It’s also an opportunity to practice gratitude. To show our kids that it is not the event that determines our attitude, it is our perspective and that is what we can control. It’s so easy for all of us to fall into moments of grumbling and complaining, and it’s just as easy for our kids to do the same. While we can’t always control what happens around us, however, we can influence how we respond to the events that fill our days.
Next time you observe one of your kids is grumbling or feeling frustrated about something that they could be grateful for it’s the perfect opportunity to help them re-frame it. Help them practice problem-solving with a positive attitude:)