Greater Learning’s 10 tips to survive shelter-in-place with children and have fun while building bonds together! Families are faced with new challenges as we as a nation are sheltering in place and trying to figure out ways to meet those challenges. I recently had the opportunity to watch a webinar by Dean and author Julie Lythcott-Haimes and author Debbie Reber. They provided some great tips to help families at this time.
1. Put on your own oxygen mask first (Take care of yourself first!)
• Practice and model good self-care.
• Honor yourself – make sure you are keeping things a priority that are important to you (yoga, reading a book). It is not optional.
• How are you managing stress and anxiety?
• Our children will learn from watching us. They need to know it is o.k. to set time aside for ourselves and they need to know that you too can be stressed, but they also need to know what you are doing to manage the stress.
• Keeping a routine and things on a schedule are a key to success (don’t forget to make the effort to get dressed, brush your teeth, do your hair, regular meals).
2. Don’t shirk your authority.
• A ‘happy kid is a happy house,’ but parents still need to parent, and children need
structure and accountability.
• Maintain regular rules, expectations, and consequences.
3. Keep your house clean.
• It’s something that you can actually control at a time when we feel out of control.
• Children of all ages should be expected to help. Find ways to engage them
positively in this task.
4. Seek your social connection
• We are social creatures and as Dean Julie said it so aptly “we gain our energy
from each other”. I totally agree. I miss the children I see on a regular basis,
most of all the smiles.
• Keep your distance physically, but not emotionally. Get outside and take a walk, march or skip down the street, wave, smile and say ‘hello’ to your neighbor. Share your energy.
5. Give everyone their SPACE!
• A difficult task given increased constraints but respect your children’s need to have their space if you want them to respect your space.
• Model this positively so they can understand it – set the expectation and label the behavior.
6. Set a personal goal you want to achieve by the time we can get out again.
• Do it with intent and practice it daily
7. Take delight in small dividends.
• Actively look for the good in this world.
• Actively demonstrate positivity and gratitude!
8. Take breaks.
9. Give kids the reins.
• They deserve and need a strong element of control in their learning and spaces right now. Children will always exceed our high expectations!
• Change roles occasionally and let your children be the ones that help schedule activities, chores, etc. You can provide the outline but let them fill-in the pieces.
10. Hold a family meeting once a day, ideally over a meal.
• A wrap-up meeting to share the “highs” and “lows” of the day.
• Processing and sharing how we are feeling and doing is important.
Remember, our children learn from us, they need to know the good things we are doing, the not so fun and frustrating things we encounter, and most of all how it made us feel and how we are dealing with it. So use our 10 tips to survive shelter-in-place and have fun with your children while building memories and greater bonds!