Calm in the Storm

When things going on in the world around us are uncertain and out of our control, it is very easy to find ourselves in worry, fear and anxiety. We are human beings with a full range of emotions so that just means we are normal.

I’ve been thinking about this and about what my children and all children need right now and I think what they need is a feeling of peace and safety when things feel unknown and, perhaps, scary.

Brene Brown has said that “who we are and how we engage with the world are much stronger predictors of how our children will do, than what we know about parenting.” I feel like this is especially applicable with what is going on in our world and lives right now. As a parent, who you are and how you respond to this challenge will have a greater impact on how your children will do during crisis than what you know about parenting.

What are your actions showing them?

What are your words teaching them?

What do they hear you saying about everything that is going on?

We get to be the calm in the storm for our children.

This is also why it is so important that as parents and caregivers, you are taking care of yourself.

Ask yourself what is it that you need to do for you in order to be the calm, the peace, the voice of reason and hope for your children.

Get plenty of rest.

Eat the healthiest food that you can given the circumstances.

Limit caffeine intake as that can contribute to greater anxiety.

Move your body.

Breathe.

Know what things work for you to bring calm when you are anxious or worried.

And when you are worried or scared or anxious or overwhelmed yourself, reach out and ask for support.

We don’t have to go through this alone.

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation.

As human beings, we are wired for connection.

And we are blessed to live in a time that technology allows us so many ways and opportunities to connect even when we are practicing social distancing in our homes.

Know that we are thinking of you and your children during this time and wish you peace and health and happiness amidst the uncertainty.

Rebekah Anderson

Family Routine

Routines are a great way to get everyone on the same page and working together. When everyone involved knows what is expected, and when it is expected, there are fewer arguments and more accomplishments.

Over time my family created routines based on our natural flow. It was easy when my kids were little to capture their attention while they were eating or with paper and colored pencils in front of them. These were the times I would read to them. We would read books on animals, ancient civilizations or any other topic that grabbed our interest. After tummies were full we would pull out our Math books. Mornings were always best to cover the more strenuous topics. Natural breaks were inserted as when they finished one topic, they would run downstairs or outside to add movement to their day. Movement cements learning and is so good for our brains. After lunch was always a great time to dig out an art project, play a musical instrument or gather around a game. Evenings always found us snuggled together reading. When they were little it was a huge pile of picture books. As they got older we devoured novels. As my children became more independent it was fun to watch them still rely on routines to accomplish their schoolwork. They still do most of their schoolwork in the mornings followed by chores and free time. The expectations and simplicity of routine keeps our household running calmly and smoothly.

Some children work well with lists that can be checked off or charts with stickers. These provide clarity so that our children know how much they have to do and can clearly see when it is done. Other children respond better to a system that clearly defines expectations with rewards and consequences. An example of this would When you complete your math you can play one online game. The expectation is completing the math, the reward is an online game, the consequence is no online game until the math is complete. My son was especially great at pushing the limits and wanting the reward before the expectation was met. It is sometimes hard as a mom to hold them accountable but it pays off in the long run. They will stop pushing when they know you won’t budge with the system that they helped create.

Work together as a family to create your family routine and expectations. When kids are involved in the creation they will be more willing to follow through on the plan. Meet weekly to make adjustments until you have something that works for everyone.

Kim Goates
Executive Director
Canyon Grove Academy