Jill Spivack and Jennifer Waldburger, co-founders of Sleepy Planet Parenting and our resident Dream Lab sleep training experts, share advice on spending extra time at home.
We have no doubt that you are making some pretty big life adjustments at the moment – working remotely, kids out of school and social distancing. We’re all in the middle of a very challenging situation, and part of what’s so hard is the unknown. All each of us can do is to take steps to be proactive and healthy— and stay as grounded as possible while we watch and wait.
Here are a few guidelines for navigating these unusual times:
Let’s face it: Being home all or most of your day is not something you would have asked for. There will undoubtedly be times when you feel overwhelmed, frustrated at the situation, or bored to tears. Kids will feel these things, too. At the same time, none of us can do anything about these circumstances. Model for kids how to practice acceptance by vocalizing what’s hard: “We all really wish we didn’t have to stay home so much … this is hard!” And verbalizing how you’re going to show up for the experience anyway: “This is one of those times in life that we just need to make the best of things. We’re gonna take this one day at a time.”
Keep some structure in your days
Aside from having regularly designated time for meals, bathing and sleep, consider having “circle time” with your kids where you read or tell stories. Set aside time for “PE” where you do something physical, like taking a walk, a short hike, doing yoga or having a crazy dance party. Kids thrive with some structure, and the day won’t seem as overwhelming to you.
Look for the gifts tucked inside of this difficult situation. A forced break from the daily hectic pace of life means more time to bond with kids and as a family and enjoy small quiet moments with your kids that you likely don’t get as often as you’d like. You might just make some memories during the coming weeks that you’ll all cherish for a lifetime.
Take some time for yourself
Make sure you’re taking breaks to refuel. This could include practicing some yoga or take a walk or run. Reconnect with your social circle (virtually, of course) and catch up with old friends by phone or video. Finally start that book you’ve been meaning to crack open, or enjoy some alone time gardening, painting or playing music.
Practice your own self-regulation
You will most likely run lots of emotion at times over the coming weeks. One minute you might feel fairly resigned to circumstances as they are, and the next minute, you might feel highly anxious. Taking the time to find your center will not only help you function as well as you can during these challenging times but will also help you bring your best self forward with your family. Bonus: Your own self-regulation will have a ripple effect on your partner and kids, too.
Above all, remember to be patient with yourself and others. We are all navigating uncharted waters but with some self-love and compassion, we will get through this together.
Jen & Jill
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