This year has stretched most families to the limit. Each month has brought new stressors, changes and headaches. In the old days, like 2019, parents just had to manage work, school, meals, after-school activities and chores. You know, typical parental juggling. Now, many of our families are struggling with new, Covid-19 scholastic issues. To send children to school or not? Stay home and homeschool? Have kids do virtual school? Each seems fraught with difficulties and many parents (and children) are stressed to the breaking point.
Many families I talk with focus on the losses their children are dealing with – lack of friends, difficulty learning, too much time on screens. Let’s shift our focus from 2020 being a time of disconnection to a time of growth and resurrection of some good old fashion life skills – being kind, family dinners, playing for hours outdoors, ability to have a conversation on a variety of topics, independent play without a screen.
Let’s start by looking at the lessons of 2020 differently. Sure, we want kids to learn and grow, but what if we rethink what we focus on teaching them this year. If we shift our priorities to our core family values – patience, stick-with-it-ness, frustration tolerance, fortitude, positive self-attitude, empathy, self-care and so many more.
When the next scholastic stressor hits, shift the focus from textbook learning to life skills learning. As the wifi flits in and out of bars or teacher struggles to maintain in person and virtual classes, concentrate on the life lesson instead. Let’s build empathy when someone is upset, become comfortable with boredom waiting for the screen to load, or shift to self-care when feeling overwhelmed by stressors.
Imagine what our children and community will look like after practicing becoming a well-rounded, balanced human being! We might have children and teens who are a bit behind on learning geometry, spelling or history, but with an increase in their ability to manage life on life’s terms, they will have a greater chance of catching up…instead of giving up.