5 ways to parent that guarantees JOY in your household during COVID 19.
By Maysaa Fahour
Good parenting requires more than intellect. Good parenting involves emotion. Research has found that your emotional awareness and how you handle certain situations determine your success. Psychologists have determined that all kids are hard wired to need attention and power. And I am not talking about the narcissistic attention and power grabbing kind of hard wiring. I am talking about the universal theme that Dr John Gottman deemed as Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
So how do we do this? How do we not only survive, but thrive, while we have our children at home with us 24/7. Here, I have noted the best 5 tips to keep joy floating around in your household.
1. YOU ARE NOT THEIR CLASSROOM TEACHER.
Breathe and relax. During this time, let’s remember to lift the load of your shoulders and say it out load: I am not their teacher.
So who are you during this era of Covid 19? You are a guide, a captain, let’s say. You are the captain of the ship and the children are the rowers. Can the boat go without rowing? No. yet do the rowers know the most efficient way to row without a captain? No. This works in this current state we are all living in. Once you recognise, accept and deal with the fact that you are their parent first and foremost. You do not need to rush out and buy things, learn things and drown yourself with extra work. Your primary concern is still the same – the emotional well-being of your child. Don’t worry on the academics, spend your thoughts on providing routine in a nurturing way.
2. IGNORE YOUR PARENTAL AGENDA.
This means letting go of labelling your child. If you label, you will constantly keep a watchful eye on your child’s behaviour and constantly try to adjust their personality. To successfully connect and bring JOY in your household you need to let go of the destructive labels because unfortunately, children always believe their parents and then try to fulfil their parents’ views as if they are divine prophecy. If you see your child as stubborn, then that is what he/she will become. It’s all about releasing what YOU want from your child and focus what you can PROVIDE for your child.
3. LET YOUR CHILD THINK OF THEIR OWN SOLUTIONS.
Did you know one of the quickest way to short cut a child’s EQ is to tell a child who is sad or angry how he or she should solve the problem at hand? Your child isn’t looking to upset you with their story. Your child is looking to be soothed by you. Comfort. Not solve.
Let me give you a common scenario – your children have been home for days on end now. It’s becoming monotonous and the sibling tensions are rising. Your son comes up to you one morning saying that he’s bored. A conversation like the following might occur:
Child: I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.
Mum: (scoffs) Seriously, I am so sick of hearing those words! I can think of plenty of things to do. What about play doh? Colouring in? Puzzles?
So, within a few moments, your child has been handed some ideas. Next time try to guide the child to an outcome, and it’ll stick a lot longer. Try something along the lines of “being bored is an OK feeling. It means your brain is working out what to do. What do you feel like doing?” And go from there.
4. WORDS MATTER.
Have you ever heard the saying; actions words speak louder than words? I think this is true but only to a very small extent. WORDS are powerful. WORDS are the basis for all relationships, and this is especially so in the case of parenting. How many times have you consciously thought about your words you’re using? Here are some examples of things that’ll bring joy in your household today:
“I hear you”
“I can see that…”
“What do you think we should do?”
A rule of thumb I always stick to is to pause when I am listening and then relay back what the child has said to me.
5. TLC – 1 on 1 time.
And now this is the ultimate. This is like a triple scoop ice cream sundae with the works. If you want JOY, CONNECTION and honouring of your child, 10-15 mins a day of one on one time with your child is the perfect recipe. There are four basic rules you need to adhere too:
- Your child gets to choose the activity
- You must put your phone away
- It can happen at any time of the day
- Pre-plan the timing of your 1 on 1 time the day before
During this unprecedented time of being with our children for a longer than usual amount of time, it is crucial we focus on the positives of it. It is more than normal to feel tired and out of control, but the only way through this is to consider altering our perceptions to best adapt to the current situation.