You probably already rolled your eyes reading this title. Thriving this year?! More like surviving… Let’s be honest, this school year, what with so many kids at home due to the coronavirus, is going to be challenging.
As a parent, you already have a lot to juggle. Bills, budgeting, lawn care, housekeeping, cleaning, stopping sibling fights every five seconds while working from home and trying to maintain sanity so hopefully your kids will see Jesus in you and not something else. Whew. You get it.
So is there any hope of success? Any hope that you can make it through?
I think the answer is yes. But not an easy yes.
First, let’s talk about grace. Because you’re going to need it. Your kids are going to need it. Teachers are going to need it. Neighbors are going to need it. Click-list workers are going to need it. The point is that these are really challenging times, and we would do well to assume that everyone is trying their hardest and that everyone is going to have bad days. It just happens. We’re human.
Something that really helps me remember to give grace is carving out some time to be alone, or at least semi-alone (when my littles are momentarily distracted), with God. I feel like I do this best when I get out in nature or go for a run. But if you despise running, as I sometimes do, coffee in a cozy corner with a good devo is my close second.
Second, let’s talk about routine. If you’re not someone who thrives on schedules it might be a good time to get in touch with someone who does. Ask their advice on how to put together a rhythm that works for your family.
For example, my husband and I are complete opposites. I prefer to have my entire day plotted out and he’d rather see where life takes him. It can be incredibly frustrating for me (and he thinks the same). But after some counseling and open communication, we both decided that a routine is something that helps our entire family move smoothly through the day with less pull-your-hair-out moments.
To accomplish this, I use the calendar app on my phone paired with good old-fashioned pen and paper. And I also love our huge white board that hangs in our kitchen where we write down the dinner menu for the week. But if you prefer apps there are plenty: MyLifeOrganized and Timely are, in my opinion, two of the better ones.
Third, let’s talk about school from home, if your kiddos will in fact be home. Unless you’re used to homeschooling already, this will, perhaps, be the trickiest issue for most parents to manage, especially if you’ll need to work from home while your kids Zoom into their virtual classes.
Take deep breaths throughout the day, because helping your kids try and figure out how to stay on track while engaging in virtual learning could, and probably will, be difficult. Perhaps building in “run around outside and get your energy out” breaks will be helpful for some. Or, if you have a pretty calm child (unlike me) coloring or dancing in the house will do just fine.
Additionally, if you’re wanting to supplement your school’s curriculum, try teacherspayteachers.com. The site has some great ideas for taking that next educational step. Or if you’re super ambitious and think your kiddos could benefit from learning another language, Duolingo is a fun, safe app for kids to linguistically venture out. And, finally, if you just want a whole bunch of non-screen ideas for the weekend or even the week, check out our podcast.
Remember, as a family, you’re on the same team. Teams get into disagreements, they fight, yell, get frustrated. But they also encourage each other’s potential and stand by their teammates. The truth is, this year has been a hard one for everyone already, and it’s not going to get easier for a while. It’s going to take a toll mentally, emotionally and physically. And there’s no shame in that.
But you are the best parent for your kiddos, even when you don’t always feel like it. So, take courage today. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and wisdom. You can do this. One day, or one moment, at a time.
For more help with kids this fall, check out some of the resources Focus on the Family offers, beginning with the following links.
Article: School Choice for Parents
Focus on the Family has a help hotline, too!