Dear Oakhill Family,
This is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult times many of us have dealt with as parents. There is so much uncertainty and concern and at the same time, we can't even spend time with friends and family for the chance to recharge and to discuss our concerns or gain wisdom from others. People talk about kids being resilient- what about us adults?! How are we going to survive this time at home with our sanity intact and our anxiety levels managed? Well, here are a few ideas for managing your stress during this time. You may notice there is a great deal of focus on self-care!
1) Exercise. Many services are offering free trials for exercise programs - Peloton has made their app free for a 90 day trial period and there are awesome exercise options there including yoga which is very beneficial for managing stress and finding peace. If you need something calming your kids can do, check out Cosmic Kids yoga on YouTube. If yoga or structured exercise isn't for you, turn on some music and dance around or climb the stairs for 20 minutes. Just get moving.
2) Take a nap! Never underestimate the power of sleep. And now, we all have a little more time to do that (silver linings)! If your kids won't nap so you're able to, you can institute a mandatory 30-minute quiet time where everyone HAS to find a quiet activity. This would be a perfect time to get everyone reading as well!
3) Work on one habit/goal/problem area at a time. If you're feeling frustrated that your kids won't pick up their toys- set aside three times a day to do a 5-minute pick-up and kids who don't want to participate don't get to go onto the next fun activity. If your kids won't listen - ask them to repeat what you said - everything you said - until you're sure they heard you - every time. Pick ONE thing to work on and eat that elephant one bite at a time.
4) Reconnect with something you love to do that has nothing to do with your family. Preferably a screen-free thing so you don't end up distracted. Maybe you enjoy reading, puzzling, painting, board games - kinda need family for that one but it still counts, knitting, exercise, scrapbooking, woodworking, cooking/baking...you get the drift. Do something just for yourself and make it known to your family that it is happening and tell them why.
5) Call your friends and family! They are all feeling the same way. There's a reason isolation is used as torture! We weren't meant to go through life without the support of our friends and family.
6) Look up goofy jokes on the internet or find a comedy channel you enjoy or make a challenge with your family to see who can get the most laughs from a joke and everyone has to bring 5 jokes to the table at dinner. Do anything to get laughing because laughter is medicine!
7) Make a family signal. When any one person in the house is close to reaching their limits, use the signal. Make everyone aware of the signal and help your kiddos understand that mom & dad are human too, feeling worried and stress trying to deal with this pandemic. Everyone needs grace in this time and everyone deserves to be heard and to be offered a break when they feel they've reached their limit.
8) Most importantly: Don't try to be a superhero! There is no such thing!
Struggling with problem behaviors or worried that these trying times will cause difficulty in your relationships at home? Try a few of these ideas:
- Make a list of your "Big 3" house rules. These are the ones you will NOT negotiate on; the three things you're willing to go to the wall for. Trying to enforce all the rules just gives kids more opportunities to argue and parents more opportunities for frustration. These three rules should be established at a family meeting or should be made very clear and any consequences for a lack of follow-through should be stated when the rules are established. This will help keep negotiations and arguments to a minimum.
- Focus on the Big 3 and treat the rest of the "rules" more like requests. Don't worry- you can still get these requests met- and hopefully without argument. Try rewarding your kiddos (something you know they will really work for) to gain their follow-through of requests. Use a marble jar or a tally chart or something tangible and offer praise or even a reward for these positive behaviors. Ask your child to make their bed and when she does it, add a tally to the chart. Tell her you appreciate her effort. If she doesn't do it, move on. It's not the end of the world. The more tallies she gets, the more likely she will be to abide by your requests with the behavior you expect.
This time, while challenging and very different, doesn't have to be hard. And more importantly, we don't have to do it alone. Isolated, yes. Alone - absolutely not! PTO is here to help and support you. Teachers are available. Call, email, text, message...whatever you can do to stay connected. We are here for you and we can all come through the other side of this stronger than ever!
Stay healthy, stay safe, best wishes!
Your Oakhill PTO