A Survival Guide for Caregivers
How are you holding up?
In tough times, parents, your love and dedication shine. You are the rock your kids need, the comfort they seek, the reassurance that it's going to be OK (even when you're not sure when it will). These challenges can strengthen your family identity. When your kids join you to tackle a service project for a neighbor, to write to a lonely grandparent, or attend a rally to support a cause, they learn what being a member of your family means: "When the going gets tough, our family gets caring... moving... working... creating..." (your choice).
As you navigate these rough times, I encourage you to look for opportunities to strengthen your family identity and bonds. In Active Parenting, the founder reminded parents to "Remember the Wasa." The Wasa was a historic war ship that sank in its maiden voyage because it lacked sufficient ballast to counter the weight of its guns. As parents, you provide that ballast: the weighty security of your love, a positive family identity and much-needed coping skills, so that your child can stay strong in tough times.
Help! My kids are (driving me) crazy!
Here are THREE FAMILY HELPERS you will recall from past parenting series:
2. Special Time
3. Self Care
ROUTINES help ALL of us get through our days with less drama and more time for fun. Sticking to your routines for bed times. learning times, and meal times with some consistency will free up more energy and creativity for making some fun. If you need some help with creating routines for your family, this site has good suggestions for children of different ages.
SPECIAL TIME is a few minutes you build into each day's regular routine to hang out with your child one-on-one, allowing them to choose the play or activity or topic of conversation. Your job is to observe and participate, enjoying the time with your child. When kids know they have you all to themselves for a special time each day, their relentless pleas for attention lessen, they feel more connected, and they are more likely to cooperate throughout the day. If you have more than one child, work with your spouse or partner and choose a special time with each child or alternate days. Having positive connection each day helps parents have a more positive outlook toward their child when things do go south.
SELF-CARE an be inexpensive. Self-care is essential. You (and I) get crabby and out of sorts when you don't take care for yourself. Other people don't like to be around you. Children don't listen to you when you use your grumpy voice. Invest in your parenting (and partnering) by taking care of yourself. Peace and quiet, a hobby, a nice smell or captivating image, a walk, some exercise, music that lifts you up. All these and more are waiting to re-energize and de-stress you. Won't you please make an appointment for self-care today?
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