It’s going to be a challenge having our entire world upended over the course of the next few weeks or quite possibly months. While we cannot claim that all of these suggestions will work for you, your family and/or your situation, perhaps one or two can help make a not so great situation a bit more bearable.
Appeal to the senses:
There are innate reasons why we love the sun. It changes our moods by naturally increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine, improves brain function and observing sunrises and sunsets, are said to activate the pineal gland, (otherwise known as your third eye) leading to spiritual awakening. So open the blinds, and let the sunshine in.
Set the mood with music:
You are a vibrational being and music is one of the fastest ways to alter that vibration. You can energize your entire home with some electro-swing, relax the atmosphere with jazz classics or show you children how “fly” you once were by performing with your wooden spoon as a microphone, along to the top music of your decade. Your attitude will become contagious, once you decide to pass the mic…if you decide to pass the mic.
Why does music move us?
In Living Color-Fly Girls
Believe in the power of bacon (in moderation of course):
From toothpaste to body wash to bowties, it seems everything is better with bacon. Not only are there bacon of the month clubs, there is a camp specifically, and entirely about bacon. (I know, I am as excited as you are right now…) Just about everyone loves a hearty breakfast now and then, so why not make something yummy for those you love. Prepare breakfast, let the scent of crispy bacon waft through your home and watch what happens. Try make-ahead breakfast casseroles that will keep you away from standing at the stove and give you more time attending to what you need to get done.
A spiritual experience courtesy of bacon
Use your crockpot:
Few things are as enticing as a home-cooked meal, and when you can add everything to one pot, set it and forget it, it just doesn’t get any better. Search crockpot meals by the ingredients you already have on hand, with images and you’ll know which ones you want to prepare immediately.
Use paper goods:
If the thought of a sinkful of dishes every day is not on your top 10 list of chores to tackle, consider using paper plates, plastic utensils and disposable cups. Use a sharpie to write names on each cup. Sure, it may cost a little extra, but think of all the dishes you won’t be doing.
COVID-19 arrived just in time for spring. Yeah, it’s the old yearly standby, and we probably don’t do a thorough enough job, but given the current circumstances, spring cleaning will more than likely be at the top of your list this season. Consider using organic cleaning agents like peroxide and vinegar that pack cleaning power without the toxins. Perhaps a fresh coat of paint and/or rearranging your furniture, not only in public spaces, but in bedrooms as well, will give your home a well-deserved spring spruce up. Need help moving heavy furniture, try furniture sliders.They can be purchased from Wal-Mart to Amazon. If you need help in a pinch, use magazines (the same way you use sliders). The surface must be smooth. It’s not as good as the sliding discs, but it will still make the job considerably much easier.
Make a meal together, let your family help by cutting veggies or assembling ingredients. Incorporate a favorite dish of each individual or dedicate a night to the tastes of each person. Discover art projects that will appeal to your child. Search “Dollar Tree projects” or “cheap and easy arts and crafts.” Most homes already have the majority of supplies needed, but for any that are missing, they can be purchased at a dollar store. There are a plethora of functional items you can create from plastic bags, rugs, beach bags, and sleeping mats to name a few, a quick search in YouTube will jolt your creative juices, and your child will be proud of what they helped to create. We crave appreciation, and children are no exception. Motivate their artistic talents by creating a surprise gift for a special family member or friend, teaching them that the most valuable offerings come from the heart.
Take the opportunity to get to know your child better. What are they passionate about? Perhaps they enjoy video games. Set aside time you can spare and let them remind you of how bad your gaming skills are, by playing alongside them. Experience a few of their favorite movies together and ask them what they like about those particular films. Listen without judgment and let them own their opinion. When an individual is constantly challenged especially by a parental figure we teach them that individuality is unacceptable, feeding into the swell of narcissism. Let them know their thoughts are important and heard. In exchange, share appropriate movies you enjoy and offer your own personal explanations. Not only are you teaching them to respect multiple points of views, but you may unexpectedly get a glimpse into your child’s mind. Have a teenager, that’s in “I hate everyone” mode? Try remembering the television shows or movies they loved as a child, and grab a copy from Amazon. Even if they don’t watch it with you, they will remember that you remembered, and that just may help break the ice.
Watch the Fred Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, it will move you.
Expand their minds:
We have an imagination for a reason. What your child (and you by the way) loves to do, can hold the key to their future fulfillment. Does your child enjoy drawing? Find a documentary about architecture or fashion design. Does your child enjoy chocolate, watch a documentary about how chocolate is made. There are documentaries covering just about everything online. Try Amazon as your first stop. You could possibly open an entirely new world to them.
Love ’em up:
Purposefully hug your children…yes even your forlorn teenager, for more than two seconds. Let go of pettiness and hot button issues for one day. Agree to a truce for 24-hours of civility and if it tries to rear its ugly head…simply state…”I am deferring all arguments until tomorrow.” Find the good and focus on it.
Nothing can stop spring’s awakening. Just as magical as the first snowflakes of winter, so is nature’s irrepressible unfurling. Take a walk through nature and share signs of spring with your children snapping photos as evidence.
Tire out your toddler:
Simon says- Anything that will make your kids exert energy is the goal. Whether it’s using their arms as windmills, doing jumping jacks or running back and forth in the yard, it’s all about expending energy. Every time they perform an action without “Simon Says,” simply ask them if they want another go at it. Keep repeating this until they are tuckered. The prize is the most important leverage tool so make it extra special, and if you want to up the ante further, present them with a wrapped gift before playing the game, piquing their curiosity.
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes- You know the drill. The more enthusiasm you put into these games, the faster your child will become tired, as they not only use physical energy, but mental faculties as well. Consider making these extremely fun nightly rituals as a precursor to bathtime, Not only will you drain your child’s energy, they will also look forward to it.
Check out this couple’s idea to exhaust their kids. You can find laser lights at the Dollar Tree.
It’s easier said than done, but it is essential. If you have a parenting partner, consider a tag-team strategy. Sometimes all you need is a short amount of time to recharge yourself. Let your significant other take your child/children on a trip in the car or to play in the backyard for an hour and do the same for them when necessary.
Employ a venting partner, preferably, not your significant other. Call a friend who is able to listen to your gripes of the day and take turns airing your frustrations. When you put your child to bed, (hopefully early after exercising them) have some alone time, even if that means locking yourself in the bathroom with relaxing music and a lavender candle or dimming the lights and pouring yourself a glass of wine, accompanied by a well-earned exhale.
Lives, are and will continue to be lost. Instead of becoming stressed out or possibly angry that the kids are driving you insane, perhaps we should reflect on perspective and be thankful that they are here and healthy enough to do so. Let’s be honest, none of us want the alternative.
Do you have ideas that can help other parents? Share them with us!