Here in Dallas, we’re fighting the pandemic just like the rest of the country. For many families, 2020 was the battle of a lifetime, wrought with fear and anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic as well as financial uncertainty and stress caused by the faltering economy.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this time for many parents has been taking care of the kids, most of whom are home from school. How do you keep children entertained while learning from home? How do you keep your family united during one of the most divisive and difficult periods in history?
Here are a few thoughts on how to responsibly manage this time as a parent and as the leader of a family during a historic crisis:
You may need to reassess your living situation
Many families are dealing with a litany of logistical problems right now, much of which revolves around financial issues. The effects of the pandemic have been unemployment, business closings, and economic distress. This has caused families to consider ways of reducing their financial strain.
For example, some families are adjusting or completely altering their living situations. People are selling their houses and moving into smaller apartments and even RVs. Or, less extreme solutions include temporarily moving in with family members who have extra rooms.
Some renters are opting for private micro-apartments in communal houses. Such a move often involves renting a suite in a pre-furnished property. This is increasingly common in the more desired neighborhoods of big cities like New York, where quality real estate like the Journal Square apartments can be difficult to afford without a co-living arrangement.
Dallas has co-living community properties, too. If you need to downsize your living arrangements for financial reasons and/or temporarily move into a cheaper rental situation, communal housing could be the perfect fit for you. Transfers make it easy to switch between different suites and since the rooms are usually pre-furnished, you won’t have to risk your health shopping at crowded stores for furniture, home amenities, and décor.
Teach your kids the virtue of empathy
As the saying goes, you should be able to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The last 12 months have taught us the real-life importance of this as we’ve seen our fellow citizens ensnared in very difficult, life-threatening conditions.
As a result, this is a great time to teach your kids the importance of having and expressing empathy. It’s not just about how you are doing, but how your friends, neighbors, community members, and fellow citizens and humans are faring as well.
Get out into nature
This is the perfect time to get back in touch with nature. Scenic wilderness spots like trails and camping spaces are some of the only locations you can go to right now that are open to the public and safe. Provided the spot you go to is mostly isolated, you can go on hikes without even having to wear a mask (though you should have one in your pocket just in case another hiker passes you).
Make this time a teachable moment
This period in history is what they call a “teachable moment,” meaning that you can take a very bad situation and glean valuable life lessons from it. In this case, you can teach your children the importance of science. Science is behind all of the coolest inventions that kids love, including the Internet, smartphones, and video games.
There is a way to channel your kids’ love of technology and even entertainment into an appreciation of science. Make sure they are aware of how infectious diseases spread and how they affect the body. Talk to them about what vaccines are and how they work.
It’s going to be critically important moving forward that the younger generations appreciate the gravity of our current situation. You have a unique opportunity right now to embed an understanding of science.