We are IN this together.
With our work.
With our home.
With our kids.
With our partners.
Within a crisis.
The next 8 weeks may very well be just like this.
What you have been doing may have been ad hoc, ad-lib - but let's put our heads together now and figure out some best practices for this time.
Get your structure down.
For each family, this is going to be different - but having ANCHOR activities, or definite activities at certain times or in a certain order each day, is very helpful - not just for young children, but for older children too.
Write these Anchor Activities down and post for your family.
Communicate and Collaboratively Problem Solve Away from What is Not Working.
Now is an excellent time to have meetings in your home. Have them with your partner, have them with your kids, have them with one of your kids.
We often need support with how to structure meetings and with what to say, so here is a simple script I have developed with my skills learned through Lives in the Balance.*
When you notice something is not going well, begin by defining the unsolved problem.
__ is having difficulty waking up in the morning.
Ask your child about this, gaining empathy for the lagging skills which are preventing the child from doing what is difficult.
"__, I notice you are having difficulty getting up in the morning. What's up?"
Spend time here and really dig into understanding your child's experience with this skill.
- Practice reflexive listening (repeat what they say)
- Ask who, what/where/when questions to gain more information
- Ask if the problem occurs all the time or only on certain days/times
- Break the problem down into parts - what is hard - opening your eyes, sitting up, getting your clothes, thinking about your day, climbing out of bed...
- Summarize what your child says and be sure you truly understand everything
Then, once you totally understand your child's experience with the problem - You can share your concern.
Say, "My concern is..."
In this case, I might say, "My concern is that when you don't' get up in the morning, you miss your school lessons and we miss seeing you at breakfast."
It is best if the concerns highlight your concern for the person and/or their impact on another person.
Once you have both shared your concerns, you can now create a solution. Two non-negotiables are present for the solution:
- has to be realistic
- has to be mutually satisfactory
It is okay to work through each of these steps over time. If you need more support - I urge you to check out the Lives in the Balance site and resources. You can also get coaching!
Focus on the Positive and the Wins!
We have three children at home. It has not been since they were babies that my husband and I spent time with our children like this. We are learning about them in ways we have not before COVID-19.
Our children are delving into lessons from school right before our eyes. We are talking about concepts, skills, and areas of interest for the first time together.
It is helpful to write down the positives of living the way we are - and really make time for time.
This will not last forever - a good exercise to do right now is to think of what you want to remember when this is over and really spend time on that.
Now is not the time to hunker down and be truly isolated. If you are struggling, losing your temper or your sense of success with your children, it is important to reach out to those in your village.
Call a friend.
Call your child's teachers.
Share your experience and gain skills to solve problems you may be having.
If you need support, Evolved Education is here to provide you with access to educators who can not only teach your child academics but also share talents and strengths and positivity with your child(ren). We are here to serve you!
*I have included some aspects of the Lives in the Balance curriculum here, but what I have included is not the complete overview nor is it meant to train any parents in the communication or program. If you are interested in learning more and gaining tools for your communication and collaborative problem solving, please connect with their organization.