Parenting Pop Quiz
Hello families of Wellington Counseling Group
It’s been really nice to continue to see your children’s faces over the screen and connect with so many of you throughout the past few weeks. As a parent myself, I appreciate the challenges that each day brings trying to navigate your own work schedule in tandem with distance learning assignments. Some days, just successfully downloading the correct video for kindergarten literacy feels like a huge accomplishment in my house – and that’s just 8 AM! So, I greatly appreciate the effort it takes to make your child or yourselves available for an appointment with one of us on the other end. And I know these are just the very small gestures of parenting you may be providing amongst the countless other ones throughout the day. This shift into what feels like non-stop – I repeat, Non. Stop. Parenting. was quite unexpected, kind of like the universe’s way of giving us all a very long pop quiz. I’m sure there are many beautiful parenting moments amongst some of the very understandably challenging ones. In this fourth week of homebound living, I hope you can take a step back to reflect on all the things you are doing to take care of your children. You passed this pop quiz even if you missed a day of virtual school. You passed even if your kids had too much screen time today. You passed the whole test even if you felt irritable and found yourself yelling more than usual. And you’ll pass another pop quiz with flying colors even if you make another mistake tomorrow (spoiler: you will!). To keep moving forward each day to make it to the other side you will need to take care of yourself, too. Without a doubt, the options for respite are more limited these days, but finding quiet and creative moments to engage in self-care will provide the necessary restoration to ace this pop quiz.
~Put those kids to work
All this time at home is a great opportunity to get kids involved in housework to lighten your load. Even if your kids had weekly chores prior to the quarantine, staying home for weeks on end certainly creates more messes everywhere. Use this time at home to think about meaningful ways your children can help around the house, not necessarily to teach them a lesson, but rather to help you and lighten your to-do list. Children as young as five are fully capable of putting away their laundry, stripping their beds, sweeping, and, based on personal attestation, cleaning bathrooms. And while your kids are cleaning or organizing, think about sitting on the couch for a few minutes for a much-needed pause from doing. Will they perform flawlessly? Not on your life, but it’s a start. Keep it fun for them and take a load off for a spell.
~Carve out personal space
Finding time to yourself every now and then – apart from bedtime – is essential and it’s okay to communicate this to your kids. You may need to be creative, but find a space in your home where you can physically close the door to exercise, chat with a friend, read, or even hide in a closet without someone calling your name. When possible, go outside by yourself for a walk, run or bike ride. Kids may naturally ask to join you but it’s a great opportunity to talk about and model self-care while demonstrating the importance of physical boundaries.
~Connect with others outside your family
Virtual dates with friends have become popular these days, and for good reason. They give adults a chance to communicate, commiserate, and connect with others. Though it’s no match for being able to meet up in person, it’s the only way we have access to a real-time conversation while simultaneously staying safe and healthy. So, if it means putting your kids to bed a little earlier to carve out well-intended personal space, go ahead and do it. It’s good for the soul and will make you a better parent tomorrow.
Take good care of yourselves and loved ones. We will continue seeing you online until we can see you again at the office!
Allison Lobel, Psy.D.
Director of Child & Adolescent Services