It doesn’t appear as though the pandemic will be ending time soon. Even though certain elements of life have gone back to ordinary, many parts of the world are bracing themselves for a second wave. So, through all this chaos and uncertainty, how do you ensure that your family is able to maintain some semblance of normalcy?
This is something that many parents are pondering. After all, there aren’t any parenting books covering pandemics – at least not yet. The good news is that it is possible. You can make certain that your children have somewhat of a typical childhood, even with all the insanity taking place around you. Here is how you can manage this:
Restructure Life Around the New Normal
The first thing to appreciate is that life may not be returning to the way that things were, any time soon. Most experts believe that effects of the pandemic will be felt well into 2021. This means that current conditions and routines will need to continue for another year or so.
Thus, it is a good idea to remove yourself – and your family – of the idea of returning to a more familiar time. Instead, focus on adjusting to the new normal. This way you don’t get caught up in nostalgia. Rather, you are able to put your energy towards improving your current experience.
If your children are old enough, you may be able to kick-start this new direction by sitting down and having a family conversation. Remember to put a positive spin on things. Instead of making it seem as though you have to let go of something, reconfigure to conversation on being creative about the future.
In case you are kids are too young for such a conversation, it is your job to simply move them in the right direction. Stop telling them they will be able to do certain things “once the pandemic is over” or “when things go back to normal”. Rather, give them current options to choose from or find ways to modify activities so that they meet current safety standards.
Maintain Comforting Elements
Of course, there are still some elements of your old life that you should preserve. Such things can be a source of consistency and comfort to children of all ages. To begin with, focus on maintaining the fundamental or significant components of your daily lifestyle.
Since you can’t predict how long the pandemic will last or what is going to happen next, you should take certain precautions. Start by stocking up on essential items that aren’t food. For instance, if you have a baby, have a stock of good quality baby bottles.
At the moment, this may not seem like such an important factor. However, you have to consider the possibility that if production doesn’t continue that your preferred brand may be discontinued. In turn, this can have an impact on your child.
As the child-focused online resource, Little One Mag notes, toxic plastics found in poor quality bottle brands can have a significant negative impact on your child’s health. However, if you don’t buy the necessary bottles while there is existing stock, you may have no choice but to buy lesser known brands.
It isn’t just baby bottles, though. Take stock of everything that your children need for proper health and emotional comfort. This could be snacks, preferred bath supplies, or anything else that helps them feel grounded. Then, make sure to have enough of these items. These may end up being an enormous source of comfort to your child, giving them the resilience they need to get through these trying times.
Start Creating New Structures
Children – regardless of how old they may be – require structure. A framework becomes even more important when you are dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the pandemic. Due to this, it is important to begin planning a new structure immediately.
Even with lockdown rules relaxed, kids are spending more time than ever before. There are no more afterschool activities, fewer play dates, and there aren’t nearly as many options for spending time outdoors. Unfortunately, this means that most children will automatically drift towards their phones and other electronic devices.
Needless to say, this isn’t an effective remedy. After all, too much screen time isn’t good for anyone. Due to this, you will need to come up with new rules regarding technology. At the same time, you do have to exercise some caution.
These days, children aren’t just using their smartphones, tablets, and computers for frivolous things. They are using these devices to connect with friends and even other family members. And, as you are aware, these connections are quite important. Therefore, your new structure will need to be built around allowing them to use these devices for these purposes.
In terms of a new structure, it isn’t just about filling up your kids’ days with things to do. While they do need to be occupied and productive, it is just as important for them to nurture their role as a citizen of their community. Spending so much time away from other people can break down ties with your community and even result in reduced empathy and helpfulness.
Thus, it is important to build this back up again. Now, there are several ways that you can do this. Regardless of which one you choose, make certain that your child is contributing to society in a meaningful (and safe) way. For instance, you can cook, package, and deliver meals to older individuals or the less fortunate. Or, they can sign up to spend virtual time with seniors in retirement homes.
There is no denying that these are unprecedented times for parents and children alike. Kids do need stability and the above tips will show you how to maintain normalcy in a particularly abnormal situation.
Now, it may not always be easy. Nevertheless, if you and your family stick together and persevere, you should be able to get through it. Then, together, you can make through and perhaps emerge stronger than ever before.