By Cara Zelas
With children’s education being disrupted during the pandemic and with ongoing school closures, hybrid and remote learning, Zoom fatigue, and finding the right access to technology, a lot of pressure has been put on the shoulders of parents and caregivers.
It is difficult, at times, to maintain positive emotions within ourselves, let alone for our children. However, as we move into 2021 and remote school continues for some children, it is important to help them build positive routines, nurture emotional self-regulation, and build resilience.
“People develop new understandings of themselves, the world they live in, how to relate to other people, the kind of future they might have, and a better understanding of how to live life,” says Richard Tedeschi, who developed the theory of post traumatic growth with fellow psychologist Lawrence Calhoun.
Here are some strategies and tips on supporting you and your children’s emotional well-being that may help your family get through this new year with firm footing.
Clear and honest communication is important to maintain with your children. Listen, show understanding, and acknowledge that this is an uncertain and difficult time. Successful communication can deepen relationships as it brings awareness to each other’s needs.
Noticing and naming our emotions can help diffuse a situation and assist children in processing their feelings. Naming our emotions helps us to step back and think about the choices we have in that moment.
Try and think of one positive thing that you can focus on. And in a moment of despair or sadness, bring your attention back to that one positive thing. When your children see you being positive, they copy or model what they see.
Be consistent with when you eat, work, play, and go to sleep. Pepper your day with rituals: Create a family dream board that you all add to; at bedtime, talk about one positive experience of the day; do a short breathing exercise together; make up a special hug that you give each other; or think up a little mantra or saying that you repeat, such as “I love you to the moon and back.”
Stay connected with others in a small group, where you can comfortably social distance and wear a mask but be together. Have your child be old-school and write a letter or card to a loved one via snail mail. Make a video or record voice messages to send to family and friends.
This story first appeared in New York Family.