It has been a week. Schools across the world have shut down—some for the rest of the school year—to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Parents have been scrambling all week to work from home or find child care or set up schedules that kind of, sort of resemble a school day. It feels like a victory to have arrived, mostly intact, at Friday afternoon. And so I hate to be the one to say this, but… this is only the beginning.
Whatever we were able to cobble together for this week was going to have to be Good Enough. This was a situation none of us had ever experienced, and we went into survival mode. But as it becomes increasingly apparent that this survival mode may very well be our new normal for the foreseeable future, we might need a little help figuring out how to how to work and parent at home all day, every day—and keeping everyone’s anxiety at a manageable level. Luckily, we have help.
The host of my favourite research-based parenting podcast, Your Parenting Mojo, has created a free five-day workshop that aims to provide resources to parents to navigate a life of social distancing, bring calm into the home, and—most importantly!—keep the kids busy. According to Jen Lumanlan’s website, the workshop will help participants:
Shift your mindset from feeling trapped and helpless to calm and finding a sense of balance.
Set up hands-off activities to keep kids busy while you work or take a break for yourself.
Avoid being triggered, even when you’re cooped up with your partner and kids.
Cope with sibling fighting in a way that gives them tools to solve their own problems.
Use the child’s interests as a jumping-off point for true learning so that this time off school isn’t being “wasted.”
The workshop is aimed largely at parents with kids ages 3 through elementary school. But parents of kids younger than 3, Lumanlan says on her website, will still benefit from the parts of the workshop that focus on reducing your own anxiety, communicating with your partner and keeping the kids entertained while you work.
Lumanlan has also released a podcast episode about coping with the coronavirus pandemic as a parent, in which she talks about the differences between fear, worry and anxiety, as well as why a flexible “routine” is probably better for our kids right now than a strict “schedule.”
The workshop starts on Monday, March 23, and will consist of daily emails and live videos in which participants can interact with her (or watch later, depending on your schedule). In the meantime, once you sign up for the workshop, she’ll send you a sample routine you can work off of and adapt to get you ready for next week.