Our life is changing – all over the world people are having to adjust how they do life because of the Corona Virus – and this is affecting us as parents. We don’t know how long these changes are going to be necessary – all we can do is make the best of the situations we find ourselves in.
I myself am coming to the end of a holiday in New Zealand, and when I get home I have 14 days of self-isolation. Since it is only Peter and myself living in our house at the moment – and he is with me and will be isolated with me it won’t be too tricky. I have friends doing my grocery shopping and dropping it off for me. So we’ll be okay – but I look at families who have kids at home – big, little or in between – and this is an unsettling time.
I want to both encourage your heart, and give you some practical ideas as you too may need to spend more time at home with your kids (and yes, even you Homeschoolers may find yourself not as free to roam about so your lifestyle will be curbed too!)
Our Heart First
First of all we must get our own heart right. What is going on in our heart sets the tone for our home. When you are anxious – your children will be anxious. When you are at peace – then your children gain an anchor to hold onto when all around them says they should be anxious.
Our approach to the virus and to the changes in life has to be based on our faith in God. This isn’t a blind faith that expects everything to be okay – we will be afraid, uncertain, and possibly even grieve. God is with us when we go through stuff. But God also gives us a bigger perspective and to be honest, I’m still processing what that looks like – but I do know that we need to keep love at the forefront of our thinking. Love each other, love others, love God.
Earlier this week I wrote a post about how being ready helps us be an intentional parent. I encourage you to go and read this again. The five parenting mindsets (or attitudes) that I list there are very important for you to have at this uncertain time.
3 Things for Parents to Pray for: Parents pray these three things in the middle of the moment; regardless of what is going on God is on your side.
Guard Our Children’s Hearts
I read these words of Jon Acuff: “Fear is a feeling, afraid is a choice.”
These are good words – and something to remember for ourselves, as we process Corona and help our children process too.
A few reminders for parents as we also guard our children’s hearts:
- Be aware of how your words, emotions, actions affect your children – don’t hide reality from them, but help them process, and help them be okay.
- Be aware how the media repeats over and over, and highlights key words to catch your attention – children are less able to filter truth and perspective – so guard media input (especially if your children are taking notice)
- Teach into this situation – not just about germs, but about caring for others. If you are not able to physically care for someone – care for them emotionally – touch base with them, but include your kids in how you are caring for others and make opportunity for them to care for their friends in the same way.
- Pray together as a family. Let your children know that God is with you in good times and bad, sad, lonely and scary times.
What to do While Staying at Home
The second reason why I’m writing this blog post is that I want to give you some practical ideas and support dealing with changes in your lifestyle – you may be staying at home, or maybe your children are not able to go to school – either way your lifestyle has changed for the next little while.
Some of my homeschooling friends have got together and put a very comprehensive list of fun educational activities that you can do while at home with your kids during this COVID-19 situation.
Family Activities at Home: Boredom Busters, Educational Projects and Fun for all ages: You will find activities that can add to or replace school based activities as well as things that are just fun to do together.
My contribution to this list is 10 Things Children Learn at the Family Dinner Table: Dinner time is more than just a time for eating. Every time we come together we have an opportunity to teach our kids something.
And here is a list of conversation starters that might help you as you have slower meal times together.
Further Reading to Help your Parenting
This next season in our lives will be different and it will put pressures on our family that we may have not felt before. Being intentional is not about how we control things, but rather how we respond. So in this topsy turvy world we find ourselves in – now is the time to be intentional. Now is the time to live out our values and help our children grow in faith, values and practical life skills.
We might find ourselves self-isolating or social distancing – but we will still be living with our family, we will still be parenting – and so we need to guard our own heart, and then look into the needs of our children.
Relationship Based Activities: Whether you are homeschooling or not, this list of family based activities will not only keep your children occupied but strengthen your family ties as well:
Dealing with Boredom: Boredom is the inability to make wise decisions with how to spend our time and it is up to us as parents to help our children learn this skill (not punish them for not having it.)
When you Establish a Routine it will Help Your Child’s Behaviour – when our kids know what is about to happen it helps them respond more positively. Consider routines in your stay at home days.
How to get your Kids to do their Chores (my top tips) Kids dont necessarily like doing chores, but follow these ten tips to make chores happen in your house.
When Family Relationships get Tense, Look for the Niggles: When family relationships get a little tense we can look for the niggles and deal with those attitudes before relationships get damaged and break.