Rarely have I been so glad my children are both grown and have families of their own. They weren’t particularly difficult kids (don’t tell them that!) and yet, even very very good kids are going to pose a challenge for parents as you juggle school, work and home life.
There are a few things that might help as you organize your world for this fall.
The word of the YEAR.
First, the word of 2020 is “grace.” In other words, we all need to give ourselves some grace. (it would be nice to gift it to others, as well.) Grace is allowing things to not be perfect all the time. Grace is getting things done in the little bits of time you can squeeze out before the kids get up and while they’re distracted with schoolwork. Grace is finding places to take care of yourself.
15 minutes can be a game changer.
Second, I like to keep a running list of “little” things to knock out in “little” bits of time. You’d be shocked what you can accomplish in 15 un-interrupted minutes. Dash off a quick thank-you note – check! Slydial that client and leave a reassuring message – check! (If you aren’t familiar with Slydial, check it out right now!) Log on to your bank and pay a few bills – check!
Keep a running list.
In reality, however, none of those things will happen when you have a few minutes unless you have a running list someplace. I have kept a spiral notebook (just like the ones you’re buying for your kids to go back to school. Stock up now while they’re on sale!) for years. I date the top of the page., put a little open box next to all the things I need to knock out and every time I have a little space, “tick” it off the list.
Two great ways to help kids stay active and connected during COVID.
1. Bring family time and learning time together.
There are two other things I’m seeing done that may help you as well. Our daughter-in-law has organized every Monday with Professor Pop. My husband jumps on a Zoom call with the grandkids and they talk about history. Every week they plan what they want to talk about next week and everyone does their research then has an hour to chat (and leave mom alone). Perhaps your parents are feeling isolated from their grandkids and would like a regularly scheduled time with them, too?
2. Allow more participation in everyday things.
The other thing is letting the kids help more. Even at 8, our granddaughter could knock out a pretty decent supper. And she loves helping to plan the menu (math skills required to add up all the ingredients for the shopping list!), prep the meal and all the kudos that come with.
Maybe they can sweep the floor? (ok, it won’t be perfect, but neither will it be perfect if you simply don’t have time to get to it, right?) Look for places they can help.
The last thing I’m finding really helps my coaching clients right now is a really solid routine. What about having a reading time for the kid?. If they’re too little to do that for long on their own, audio books can be a godsend. (and get the overdrive app from the library! Will save you hundreds!) Maybe there’s a couple of 30-minute “quiet reading time” blocks where you can get work done and they can get engrossed in a good story?
So this week, give one of these a try! And remember that while the word of the year is “grace” it can be easy to let that slide into capitulation. Hang in there!