It has been a few weeks since my last article, and so much has happened. It is a little daunting when you sit and think about them, so don’t do that! I have a husband and two kids, both of which are elementary school age, and the husband also works. Fortunately, we are blessed enough that neither of our jobs are ones that are being cut or financially impacted by this COVID-19 virus. Although I am not financially impacted by this, I cannot say that I have not been emotionally and mentally impacted by the virus. Watching people in my family, people I love dearly be laid off, and even hearing of strangers being laid off during this time breaks my heart in ways I cannot describe. I cannot offer words of encouragement that others have not already said and I have no tips for those of you in that situation because those words and tips will not help in your moment of crisis. All I know to say is a quote from my favorite literary girl, Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, “I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.” While I cannot offer words of huge comfort during such a trying time, I can hopefully ease some minds with a few tips.
For those of you with children that are home either doing virtual learning or work you have given them, I am in the same boat as you. Hopefully, what I have found to be helpful to my 10 year old and 6 year old, will be of assistance to you. One thing I did was build a schedule, but it isn’t a rigid schedule. I just build them a schedule that would match my work schedule in a similar fashion. For example, they get up when I get up, eat breakfast and get dressed. They prepare for their learning to begin at 8:00 AM. To ensure they get much needed outside time, I made sure to build in outside and lunch time with my own lunch time. We are getting quality time that we usually do not get during a regular school/work day, so I see this as a positive.
With my work team, while the libraries have been closed to the public, we have been enjoying lunch together, my children included. We partake in some type of physical activity, such as a yoga or dance workout. My children also participate in this workout. There are a TON of free videos on YouTube that are simple and quick; they easily fit into a lunch break.
Another tip for couples and families are to build specific times into your schedule, I have built in chore time (my kids have always had this, though), family walk or game time (depends on the weather), and also a time when my husband and I watch a show together while the kids have tablet/toy free time. I do have this schedule printed and placed on our bulletin board, but each family member has a smartphone or tablet and we have a family calendar on Google. I have placed the crucial pieces of the schedule (chore time, dinner time, and family walk time) on the Google Family calendar. This helps keep us accountable because it dings on all devices when it is time for those to occur, although we don’t need help knowing it is time to eat.
Other things I have found helpful during this time have been yoga and meditation, which the library staff and I do together when possible on our lunch breaks. We are putting our mental and emotional health as a priority when we do these activities, especially when we are all on information overload during such a time as we are in now. Remember to take some time for deep breaths and give yourself a little grace. This is new and different for us all.