Today I was talking with another mom (via text message because social distancing because Covid 19). She said to me “the kids are outside right now, I don’t even want to call them in for lunch. I love them but I am just sick of them right now”. I get it. In this time of Covid 19, stress and anxiety are high and feeling close to your child can be challenging. The uncertainty is real. Honestly though, even if we weren’t all social distancing and stuck inside it can be hard feel close to your child some days. Here are 3 ways to help you stay close to your child while social distancing.
1. Remind yourself their behavior is not them
We all do this sometimes. We pick up the dirty socks from the floor for the 400th time and think “she is so lazy”. This kind of thinking is a recipe for resentment. Allow some distance between the thought and the behavior “the socks are on the floor, this task is difficult for her to remember”. Bonus assignment: check out the Fundamental Attribution Error to learn another perspective on this.
2. Remind yourself their behavior means something
When your son has a meltdown because he wanted triangle sandwiches and you cut squares, don’t overreact and definitely don’t feel like you have to make a new sandwich. Meltdowns are a child’s way of letting you know he is struggling with his feelings. Meltdowns are a chance for you to show your child it is safe for him to cry and share with you his upsets and challenges.
3. Every day find something in your child that you admire
It’s totally normal to get caught up in the day to day stress of being you. You are a busy and hardworking mom who keeps everything around you afloat. Of course there are going to be moments when you feel unappreciated and overwhelmed and like you might just pack up a bag and go on a vacation all alone (“let ‘em fend for themselves for a while, they’ll see…). Being the captain of the ship gives you lots of time to notice when everyone is not pulling their weight. Take a moment each day to find something about your child that you do like. (“I really appreciate how you took your plate to the sink without being asked”. “I loved when you gave me a good morning hug”. “I saw you being kind to your brother.”
Your child is her own person with her own likes and dislikes, opinions, and beliefs. Sometimes, just like with anyone else, you may not like some of these traits. This is normal. The thing is, you can spend your energy wishing she would change or you can meet her where she is, let go of your expectations, and embrace her strength in being her true self. As you give yourself the space to do this and keep noticing the traits you do like, feeling close to your child comes naturally.