Adjusting to a Constantly Adjusting Normal
For many parents, fall brought a return to at least some form of in-person instruction for their children. After a long spring of juggling working from home, homeschooling, and worrying about what the COVID-19 pandemic meant for our families, this return might have felt like a much-needed step back toward normalcy.
However, as we’re all keenly aware, “normal” is an ever-changing concept. As new cases arise and force schools to shuffle back and forth between in-person and remote education, it can feel like you’re a rubber band – stretching out just to get snapped back into quarantine life. Moreover, in some cases the taste of a more typical routine can make returning to your juggling act feel even harder than it was the first time around.
So how can you cope if your new normal keeps popping back and forth?
Write down the routine
Chances are, you fell into some kind of rhythm before that made Q-life possible. Once that routine changed you may have forced it out of your mind, so diving back into it is difficult. However, if you outline a rough day on paper, as much as you can, it might help you find your rhythm faster the second time around.
Many kids thrive on routine, so, as things go back to normal, encourage kids to be excited, but also speak about the potential for some virtual school in the future. This doesn’t need to be ominous or scary for kids, but can simply be including the possibility of change as part of the normal. For example, instead of saying “you’re finally going back to school,” think about saying, “you’ll have the opportunity to go to school with your friends now, but you may also get to do more remote learning, too!” Hopefully we don’t bounce students around like this, but knowing it could come might help adjusting if it does.
Pick one thing to let go of
If parents and teachers felt like they had to do it all before the pandemic, that feeling has tripled now. Moments for self-care may be scant, but prepare for a potential snap back to quarantine by picking ahead of time the one thing you won’t worry about. Is it laundry? Getting Junior to eat a vegetable every day? Keeping dirty dishes off the counter? Whatever it is, pick one (or go crazy and pick two) things that you will promise yourself you won’t stress about next time around.
What part of pre-COVID life do you miss the most? Picture yourself doing that thing in moments where you’re overwhelmed to remind yourself that, one day, this will all be over. Moreover, talk to your kids about their vision! You may be surprised what they miss, and it may even open up opportunities to help them cope with any resurgence of restrictions. For example, if your child misses seeing their friends smile because they all wear masks in person, then you can emphasize how remote learning enables them to see those smiles again.
These are just a few ideas to help as the world keeps shifting. Have more? Share them on our contact us form.
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