Five Helpful Responses for Our Families at Home

by Jon Aguilar, Communications Specialist

I’m not going to lie. When I hear stories from other parents, it’s not hard to see that adjusting to this temporary normal is going to be a little tough. Writing this I know it’s a little strange in my house. My dog is confused, my daughter doesn’t know what’s going on. To say things are different doesn’t quite fit.

In response to the ongoing crisis, Conscious Discipline recently shared some ways that families can create a new sense of normal at home.

1. “Young children co-regulate with trusted adults and older children feed off our internal states.

Our kids feed off what we’re feeling. Take time to center yourself and acknowledge how you’re feeling. Be that “safe space” your children. Be open with each other, and be forgiving with yourself when you’re the one with a meltdown.

2. “Focus on safety and connection.

Our brains work best when we feel safe & connected.

“Explain to children why life is different using the simplest terms possible. Answer their questions honestly, without offering too much detail or overwhelming them with information. Watch the news in private rather than having it running in the background all day. Limit social media for your children and yourself. Focus on statements like, ‘You’re safe. You can handle this. We will get through this together,’ instead of dismissing with comments like, ‘Everything’s okay,’ or ‘It’s not something you need to worry about.’

Concious Discipline

3. “Create your new normal.

“The brain thrives on predictable patterns. . . . A successful daily schedule might be: Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, project time, outside time, lunch, free play, rest time, family time, dinner, wash/brush, PJs, read, bed. The activities during “project time” could vary between creative play (art, dress up, building blocks), academics, gardening, household projects, or exploring online resources like museum tours, dance classes or storytelling sites. Be certain your schedule has ample opportunities for play. Creating a rhythm to your days and knowing what to expect next cultivates a sense of safety.”

Concious Discipline

4.  “Give children ways to contribute.” 

In my own home. I’ve found my daughter always seems happier when she feels like she’s helping in some way around the house. These can be as small as making imaginary brownies while daddy makes supper, or helping stir. Conscious Discipline has an explanation for why this can be so helpful.

“Contribution lights up the reward centers of the brain and releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. Verbally highlight the way your family is helping your community and hospitals by staying home. Draw pictures and make cards to mail, leave on friends’ and neighbors’ doorsteps, or drop off at a nursing home. “

Concious Discipline

5.   “Shift toward seeing the best.

“Notice your inner and outer speech. Are you ‘stuck at home’ with your kids, or do you have an opportunity to connect with family and keep the community safe while you work from home? Are you ‘stuck at work,’ or are you helping to keep the community running by staffing hospitals, grocery stores and other important functions in spite of the risks?” 

Concious Discipline

We’re all in this together. It’s so easy to get lost in what’s going wrong around us. I am continuously inspired by what’s going right. People are helping their neighbors. People in Italy are singing from their balconies. Choir concerts continuing through videos. Around every corner I see someone offering to help with daycare, trips to the store, or to lend a hand.

We will get through this together.

View complete article & supporting resources from Conscious Discipline.