This year has been challenging for all of us. Whether we are hurting mentally, physically or emotionally our health and sanity have come into question. There are times where we just need a break. What about your kids? How do you and your family navigate through this crazy year? I am not an expert, but I have found some things that have become beneficial to me and my family. Not only will I share some of my experiences, but I want to share some advice from other dads that I have received on my podcast called The Art of Fatherhood. I hope you can find something in this article that will help you and your family out during this pandemic.
Find A New Family Hobby
If we want to look for a silver lining to 2020 it is that we are getting to spend more time together as a family. Putting all of those memes of needing space from your family aside, you should embrace this time. I have heard from many dads on my podcast that time goes by so quickly. You may think your kids will be in the home forever, but you blink and your kids are off to college. Now is the time to make memories. My family and I have started biking together. We enjoy getting some fresh air while getting some exercise. Another thing we started doing was creating fan fiction from our favorite movie and book franchises. We also purchased a Dungeons and Dragons starter set and learned a few new card games. I have been enjoying this time with my family. I am learning more things about them each day. This time together has been a gift.
Talk To Your Kids About Life And The Pandemic
Think about all of things that are going inside your head. Now picture that in your kid’s mind. If you just ask your kids how are they doing you will not get the whole picture. Take the time to chat with your kids about whatever is on their mind. It doesn’t matter their age. Just ask them questions that will go beyond the yes or no answers. Share some things you are going through that you think they can understand. Communication is a two way street. Just like finding a new hobby with your kids, now is the time to create strong lines of communication with your kids. I believe your kids will appreciate you sharing your feelings and thoughts with them just as much as you do learning what they are going through right now.
Phone A Friend
One of the main reasons I created The Art of Fatherhood podcast was to show parents that dads are experiencing a lot of similar things in life. Once you find out that other parents are going through things in the same way, a wave of comfort rushes over you. You are not alone. You see other dads or parents out there trying to navigate through this crazy year in a similar fashion. So for their benefit and yours reach out to a friend. Talk with them about life or fantasy football. Just talk with them. It will be beneficial for the both of you. This also goes for your kids as well. Create a safe environment for your kids to interact with their friends. Whether it is face to face or online. Let them connect with their friends outside of a Zoom classroom.
Don’t Second Guess Yourself
I have seen other parents do things during this pandemic that are different than me. That is okay. You have to do whatever works for your family. Unfortnualtey this pandemic has turned things political when they don’t have to be. Just because you see parents handling things differently don’t second guess yourself. Keep on your path. As long as you and your spouse are making decisions that will keep your family safe and healthy don’t worry what other families are doing. Don’t get upset either. Your blood pressure doesn’t need to rise just because someone is not following your ideology. Just focus on your family. As I mentioned earlier, talk to your kids about what you and your spouse are doing for your family. Let them know your reasons. As your kids get older they will ask more questions. Take this time to explain why your family is doing one thing while neighbors and friends are doing the opposite. Communication is key.
Find Time For Yourself
Most of the time you are focusing on your family before you take care of yourself. You are making sure that your kids virtual schooling is going well. You are helping them log on to their classrooms and checking their work. Depending on your kid’s school schedules you might be making lunches at different times. You might be taking time out of your day to exercise with them since they don’t have gym class or they are not playing a sport after school. When school is done they might go outside and play or stay in and play video games. During that time you are probably making dinner while trying to finish up your last project for the day. You look at the clock and realize it is bedtime. You don’t have a chance to unwind. That is okay for few days, but it will catch up to you. Try to find time in the day for yourself. It could be in the morning, afternoon or evening. Try to get at least thirty minutes for yourself. Whether it is reading a book, watching a show, going for a run or listening to music, find something that will let yourself relax during this pandemic. You need that time to recharge your batteries for the next day.