Congratulations! You have now become part of the COVID-19 crisis and everything feels upside down and uncertain. Not only do you need to worry about the health of your family, but now you have been given charge of your child’s education for who knows how long. On top of that, you may be juggling a job, the grocery store is out of basic food staples, and your child just licked a door knob.
How is a parent supposed to stay sane?
Fear not, you are not alone. You may be physically isolated, but you are surrounded by other parents, workers, and business owners who are juggling the same stressors. It may not help, but it’s nice to know that others understand your fears and concerns. Today we have some tips to help you through this trying time.
Connect with God
God gives us peace that passes all understanding. Put your relationship with Him first, before anything. Wake up before the kids, break out your Bible, and cry out to God. Ask Him to give you strength and to guide you. Lead your children in Bible study and worship every day. Make church a priority, even from home. Listen to Christian music and sing your heart out. Be intentional about identifying blessings, and share them with others. Pray together multiple times a day.
Connect with Others
This one is a little more challenging, but extremely important. It’s critical to connect with others, in spite of isolation. Not reaching out to others can cause loneliness and depression. Contact friends and family daily through FaceTime, Zoom, or other virtual hang-out options. When you do connect with others, stay positive! Go for walks with neighbors, in a socially responsible way – at least six feet apart. Start using mail again! Send people letters and cards. Be creative, but be intentional. God designed us to be with others. Find ways to do it!
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
The next few months could be long. Research shows that children need structure and consistency. Help your children, and yourself, feel like they have control and safety. Make a schedule and stick with it. No sleeping in on weekdays. Adhere to meal times. Change out of your pajamas every day to help have a work-time mindset. Include physical activity in your schedule, and limit screen time. Make sure your children are doing chores and learning life skills in the kitchen and yard. Put your children to bed and schedule an evening time with your spouse every night.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
An extended break is not ideal. It’s never going to be perfect. Expect bumps in the road, and be ok with that. Don’t expect to totally recreate school for your children. If you can’t get through everything, or find yourself frustrated about a math lesson, it’s ok! If you accidentally leave laundry in the washer and have to rewash it, oh well! If you accidentally snap at your children, that’s ok! Give yourself grace. Give others grace. We’re all under pressure, and we’re all figuring this out together.
Being trapped in the house without going places can be really challenging. Don’t be afraid to institute a “nap time” so everyone has to go to their room and have down time. Consider going for regular walks. If you need to, go sit in the car and listen to music. It’s ok to need some time to yourself!
Be Selective About What You Watch or Listen To
The news can be helpful, but it can also really drag you down and make you feel hopeless. Challenge yourself to only check the news once a day. Only watch movies and television shows that will help you remain positive. Listen to uplifting music, not music that will make you angry or sad. Know what makes you feel good, and gives you the tools you need to stay positive. Seek out things that give you hope, not things that drag you down.
Your children are watching and listening, all the time. They can read your body language and understand your fears. It’s very important to protect them. Be honest in an age-appropriate way, but frame it in a positive way. Talk about the blessings you see. Think of ways to help others. Help them understand that when life feels out of control, that God is still there. Don’t watch the news in front of them. Try not to complain about job changes, money worries, or doing schooling at home. The way you handle this situation is teaching your children how to deal with difficulty. Give them the tools they need to be independent, confident adults some day.
Parents, we truly care about you. We want to support you. You are part of our SLS family, and we want to connect with you. Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher to ask questions. Send your prayer requests to us. Interact with us on Facebook or Instagram. Share pictures with us. Send us letters. We are working to share a home-based learning system with you hopefully next week, but we want this to be a helpful tool and not an additional stress. Our priority is ministering to your family, just in a new and creative way.
We are all in this together, and we are praying for you!
United in Him,
The faculty and staff of Springfield Lutheran School