PARENTING IS A WONDERFUL AND FULFILLING FULL-TIME JOB. IT BRINGS JOY INTO OUR LIVES LIKE NOTHING ELSE CAN, AND IT IS ALWAYS WORTH THE HARDSHIPS. ALL OF US WHO KNOW THE JOYS OF PARENTING ALSO KNOW ITS STRUGGLES. AND IN RECENT TIMES, PARENTING HAS TAKEN ON A WHOLE NEW IMAGE, FOR IN A QUICK TURN OF EVENTS, 2020 HAS BROUGHT US A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AS PARENTS THAN WE WOULD HAVE EVER EXPECTED: PARENTING OUR CHILDREN THROUGH A PANDEMIC!
We all have our proud and our not-so-proud moments as parents, and I can assure you that this pandemic has brought many of those to us. It has been incredibly overwhelming for us all to have to work from home while trying to get the kids to assist their online classes. It has been a test of our patience and our endurance, and quite frankly, our personal strength.
These turbulent times have been exceedingly… interesting (for lack of a shocking string of words), and as parents it has really tested us. But guess what! It’s almost over! 2020 is practically in our rear view mirror, and we are on the verge of a whole new year. So why not take some time to reflect on 2020 with the respect it deserves, and make new goals for 2021?! Knowing what we know now and having overcome all that we have, I know we’re more than prepared to set up and tackle some new parenting goals for 2021!
Have More Alone Time When Needed
You know something? Kids understand much more than we think about us and about what we’re going through, as long as we are open with them and we tell them about it. They have empathy and sympathy, and they are able to understand where we are emotionally and mentally (in their own ways) if we simply talk about it with them.
Therefore, if you are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted or simply overtaken by the daily tasks, simply talk about it with your kids, and explain that maybe having some “mommy time” would help. It can go something like this: “hey, you remember when you were feeling overwhelmed the other day and you just wanted to eat a snack and play with your toys in your room? Well, I’m feeling the same today. I think I need some time to regroup because it has been a little hard for me this week.” They will ask questions, and you can assure them it is not time away from them, and that it is simply important for you to take 15 minutes for yourself to relax.
Once they understand, set them up with a fun activity or their favourite show on Netflix, and then tell them you’ll be around if they absolutely need you. Otherwise, it’s now your opportunity to go and sit on the porch and have your coffee and breathe and think. Stay close enough to them to know if something is going on, but allow yourself that short time to really just relax and let go. They will understand, and you will get your time.
The more they understand about this, the easier it will be for you to have your alone time when you need it without feeling guilty. The easier it will be to let go when you need to. And the easier it will be for them to understand why you need that time. This is a great habit to get into, and it is something you’ll greatly benefit from as a parent. Trust me!
Spend More Time Outside with the Kiddos
Lockdown has made this one harder than it should be, but it has not been completely outlawed thank goodness. Spending more time outside with your kids can mean going on easy hikes together (social distancing, of course), going to rivers and lakes, getting out into a flower park or arboretum, riding your bikes around the neighbourhood, and even just playing out in the yard.
Being outside is very beneficial for children and adults, and it impacts our mental and physical health exponentially. You will all have an incredible time outside, and you will also benefit from it physically since it helps combat obesity, it promotes better bone health, and it benefits cardiovascular health like crazy.
A fun and easy parenting goal for 2021 is spending more time outside, and you’ll all love it. Plus, who doesn’t want to go to a park, set up snacks and refreshments, and read a good book while watching the kids having a blast? I think aiming towards more time outside will be a great goal, and I can’t wait for you to join!
Read More Books Together
Don’t you just love the look on your kids’ faces when you tell them “go get a stack of books so we can read together!”? Kids love it when we read to them, and when they start getting old enough to start reading by themselves, they are more than excited when they get to read the books all by themselves (with your help on the hard words).
This said, sometimes it gets hard to find a time to read with the kids, and it begins getting a little difficult to carve out that time when it’s not just bedtime. So why not make it a priority to make sure that getting some good reading time in is not overlooked? It’s a lot easier than you think!
Setting yourselves little goals like reading a new book everyday (libraries will become your friend), or reading at least 3 books before bedtime, or even letting everyone pick a book a day and reading through all of them could make this a more achievable goal, and you will feel happy and satisfied knowing that you’re reaching goals and you’re spending more precious time with the kids.
Be More Open with Your Kids
As I briefly mentioned above, kids are very aware of everything going on around the house. They know when you’re not feeling great, they know when there is conflict between parents, they know when we’re worried about money, and they know when it all gets to be a little too much.
Granted, they might not be able to comprehend big concepts like trying to get the bills paid, marital problems, losing a job, or things like those. But if you simply open up to them about what is going on, and explain it to them in a simpler and easier to comprehend way, they will be able to grasp at least parts of it in their own way, and they will feel much more included in family life.
A good reason to share more with your kids is that it will develop their intelligence in tangible and applicable ways. It will also help them feel like they are an important part of the family. It will even help them realize why things have to be the way they are, such as a small birthday celebration, or dad being at work all the time.
These are just some ideas that I wanted to share with you, and I hope they at least helped point you in a direction for this new year 2021! If you have any goals you feel like sharing with me and the readers of this blog, by all means please contact me and tell me your goals for 2021. I’m excited to know what you come up with!