Mr. Rogers said in time of crisis, look for the helpers. This quote has been circling around a lot lately, and today I thought of a similar notion: look for the children.
Kids are much more resilient than we often give them credit for. My reminder today (day 7 of social distancing) as I observed my two kids, was to learn from their own strength and resilience in times of change and hardship. As long as we give our kids the space and freedom, I truly believe they have something to teach us adults.
I've set a loose schedule for the kids to help us with our days at home. My mantra this past week has been: set clear and firm boundaries (with a priority of keeping myself sane), with lots of wiggle room inside those boundaries for the kids to direct their own play and learning.
Today, during their "Academic Time" which gives them the autonomy to choose what they want to do (without screens), my two kids created a game for themselves. They chose "clubs" they wanted to do, similar to those offered at my son's elementary school. They talked over which clubs they wanted to try, responded to each other with things like, "good choice, that sounds like a good one," and went off to different areas in the house to try out their clubs.
Molly (3) chose a Salsa and Pasta club, where she could make her own salsa and pasta. Jacob (5) chose a lego club and pillow fight club. They came up with many more that I didn't catch as I was getting chores done around the house.
This play between them was inspiring to me. I can already tell they both sense that they may not return to school this year and they are a little nervous about what's going on. Giving them the space to determine their own play throughout the day is allowing them to process these big changes and unpredictable times. They are substituting school time for pretend time where they can imagine themselves anywhere, doing anything.
Yes, we have to parent, provide some structure and boundaries. Let's do that. Then let's take some time to sit back, give our kids space, and learn a little from them.
Tales of life during the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19).