Is your Saturday looking like your Wednesday? Is today’s to-do list looking like yesterday’s? Is there a to-do list?
How’s your patience? Have you been asked one too many questions? Made one too many meals? Cleaned up…again?
You might need a little help and you have every right to ask for it…even if it’s from your children.
Is there a hidden bright spot to being on your last nerve?
Recently, I asked a mom if she asks her 8-year-old to help take care of their 2-year-old? Not really, she said. That conversation happened last week so I’m wondering if things have changed this week. She and her husband were trying to do it all — moving their businesses forward, making every meal, keeping ahead of grocery shopping and trying to keep the laundry room from exploding, among many other things. Oh yes, and setting up virtual school.
Bullying prevention experts often talk about the importance of teaching empathy. Empathy and social emotional intelligence help children navigate the social ups and downs with peers. In fact, it’s probably the key skill in developing healthy relationships. Now that they’re home, you might be able to build the empathy muscle AND get help with some of the day-to-day relentless tasks that might be driving you to the edge. Parents need empathy, too. It’s not a weakness. In fact, I think kids feel powerful when they’re doing something that authentically contributes to your well being.
I’m not crazy. I know that some kids may fight this at first but if you have the energy, you may be surprised that they may step up in surprising ways. Kids don’t often know how to communicate it but they like their parents to be relaxed. Challenging now, for sure. This coronavirus crisis is not making it easy to “go with the flow.”
Let’s reframe the concept of doing chores. Doing dishes, making a bed, playing with a sibling or making their own sandwich actually makes them aware of the needs of other people: namely you. If it gives you a minute to take oxygen, take it. You’ll be doing the whole family a favor.
News Flash: Kids who do chores are more successful adults.
This is a marathon. What if kids emerge from this feeling a little important, confident and needed? It may come in the form of learning how to load a dishwasher or washing machine, making simple meals, taking the garbage out (without being asked!), or bringing you a glass of water as you lay down for a minute to decompress.
What’s the biggest confidence booster? Getting caught in the act of doing something good. Let them “overhear” you talking to a friend, relative or spouse about the good thing they did. You’ll sense their body language changing. Their pride will be obvious. They’ll also get the bonus lesson of gratitude. Your young ones are learning leadership and your kitchen might be a little cleaner.
The good thing about a mountain of dirty clothes is that a 7-year-old can stand on top of it in order to reach the dial on the washing machine. How do I know this? When I was 8 months pregnant with my fourth child, I was exhausted. That’s when my three young kids learned the power of mastering the machine.
Whether it lasted or not doesn’t matter. At the time, they knew they were helping and I was grateful to sit. I needed their kindness but they had to be taught what that looked like first.
What are appropriate chores for various age groups? Check out this article.
Be kind to yourselves. This is a lot. Way more than we could have ever imagined. Get help where you can. And remember, this is your #NewBest. And for now, that’s enough.
Wishing you energy, patience and as much joy as possible.
P.S.: Go to the Tangled Ball Facebook page to get daily tips for parents during Coronavirus. Little tips can go a long way to preserve our day to day sanity. And please share! Superheroes Unite. We’re in this Together.