Setting up a home work station next to one’s second grader after her Word document vanished. Biking down Old Cutler Trail with the kids after soccer practice went virtual. Playing remote family trivia with relatives in Maine after banishment of playdates. Parents have adapted to remote learning, working amidst pandemic upheaval, social isolation and COVID diagnoses. Throughout it all, survivors can gain valuable insight for 2021 like a Miami rainbow after a downpour.
Embrace Home Learning, Connecting Virtually
Cabin fever raging, children have explored the world, traveling virtually to museums in Paris via Google Arts & Culture and the International Space Station through DOGOnews. My daughter toured Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Zoomed for ballet from our living room. Parents have developed job and language skills from free Coursera and Tandem websites and watched The Children’s Trust’s Parent Club workshops online. Children have connected with cousins and classmates through video playdates, helping ease the loneliness. Jenny LeFlore writes on “Lessons Parents Have Learned from the Pandemic” in Chicago Parent about doing TikTok dances with her son and sharing with loved ones. “Suddenly we are not so alone in our condo. It’s a joy we look forward to,” she says. “This is learning. Gross motor skills. Mirroring. Even editing.”
Hit the Books
Reading is a pandemic proof, adventurous mental exercise, whether soaring through the Greek Gods series or plotting mischief with Bad Kitty. Parents in The Children’s Trust Book Club receive a free monthly book until age 5. Also check out the Book of The Month and link from the Miami-Dade Public Library System.
Inhale Fresh Air
My daughter and I have relished nature/exercise therapy walking briskly through Fairchild Botanical Garden sanctuary and chasing our seven pound quarantine super-pup around the neighborhood. Shannan Younger writes in Chicago Parent about her child beholding nature. In addition to worldwide marvels, “it’s also important to encourage her to appreciate the wonders that surround us every day. My heart was happy when she said I had to come see a beautiful sunset or told a friend how much she loves the daffodils in our yard.” Any chance to visit a public park or even a walk around the neighborhood with your children is positive, with exercise and mental health benefits abounding.
Nourish Your Spirit and Mental Health
Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart counselor Regina Coello Canto encourages parents to model a calm, constructive response to challenges and take care of their own spiritual, physical, emotional and creative needs with joyful activities. “If you are well your child will feel better too.” There are also a number of free online courses and workshops that deal with spirituality and mental health issues that serve to guide our wellbeing.
Cherish Your Children
Amidst COVID anxieties and post-pandemic, Canto advises parents to empathetically listen to children and validate feelings. Help them problem solve and make a plan, asking questions like “what would help you feel better?” Additionally, in “7 Parenting Lessons I’ve Learned in 2020” in Red Tricycle, Jennifer Landis reminds parents to simply “cherish the increased time you have with those you hold dearest. If the pandemic taught us anything it’s that you never know when you’d give anything to have those moments back.”