By Prevention Specialist Marcia Tilson
I know that life is throwing us quite a curveball right now, and we are all trying to figure out our new normal. Life has changed dramatically and all of us are wanting to keep everything as normal as possible. When everything first started, I really thought it would be over in a couple of weeks, but here we are a month in and everything is still locked down, we are still quarantined, and children are getting restless. I knew that a plan had to be implemented to keep us all on track and hopeful of the future. Here are some things that have really helped my family through this time.
- We make time for each other. This time has truly made me realize what is important, what really matters, and how important it is to communicate with family. Every night we have dinner together, we talk about our worries and fears, we communicate what we have heard and determine if it is credible. There are no phones or other distractions during dinner, only us, talking things out and dispelling any worries my kids may have. Even if you can’t do this every night, try to do it at least three nights a week. It will make a huge difference in your family dynamic.
- We go about our normal activities. Even though we are quarantined to our home, we get up and act as if it is a regular day. My kids wake up early, we eat breakfast, get dressed, and complete our daily assignments. This is key in keeping a routine and keeping some sort of normalcy in our lives.
- Use this time as a teaching tool. Every day is a new opportunity to learn something new, especially in this situation we are finding ourselves in. My children are older and have good questions about what’s happening in our world and when or if it will ever go back to normal. I use this time to educate them on all the dynamics of what is happening, showing them how people can make a big difference by following guidelines and calming their fears over some internet sensationalism. Every day they come to me with something they saw or heard, and I must be their soft landing and explain what that is referring to and how much of it is accurate. Our teens are bombarded with so much information, it’s our job to filter it and tell them the truth.
- Always find the positive. Our world can be so dark, it can take us on twists and turns and make us really question everything. Therefore, you need to be asking your children questions, interacting with them, and making sure you are speaking life into them, so they won’t give up hope. This can be a time when depression and suicidal tendencies may come up. It’s our job as parents to make sure our children’s mental health is strong. We must ask the hard questions and be ready for the outcome. A positive statement goes a long way in a child’s life; although it seems simple, it is one of the best things you can do for your children right now.
We as parents have one of the greatest jobs on earth, and that is to parent our children. We watch them grow and go out into the world to make a difference, but also with that also comes letdowns and disappointments. It is up to us to steer our children in the right direction and be their biggest cheerleader. They are counting on us to do so!