Fear is infectious in a pandemic, and children are like little lightning rods. They pick up everything, and feel it — but they can’t articulate what they’re feeling, so they act out. As parents, one of our most important jobs right now is helping our children feel safe. That will also reduce sibling squabbling and other “childish” behavior.
Exercise boosts your mood, gives you energy, and reduces the physical feelings of stress and anxiety. Kids who spend time outside in nature, research shows, are calmer, happier, healthier, more creative, have better vision, longer attention spans, more frustration tolerance, and do better in school. Why not combine these two essentials? Even if you have only a tiny balcony and can’t leave your apartment, you can spend as much time as possible on your balcony. And in most countries, you can leave your apartment once a day, as long as you wear a mask. (Making masks of bandannas is fun for kids.
Laughter reduces the stress hormones circulating in the body. It also increases the bonding hormones, so you feel safer with and more warmly toward someone you’ve been laughing with. Get siblings laughing together to reduce competition, and get everyone laughing together to reduce the tension of 24/7 togetherness.
Your children are watching you handle this pandemic, and taking their cues from you. Do they need to panic? Or could they maybe find ways to be a better human being during this time of crisis? Luckily, you can count on multiple opportunities today to model what you hope your children will learn, by practicing your self-regulation skills and extending grace, to others and to yourself.
Give yourself a high five of appreciation even if you only get to two questions today. And that’s what to focus on if you really want one more question: Appreciate your many blessings. How can you remember to appreciate every single thing, all day long?
The mind’s job is to keep us safe, so the mind is always worrying about the future, always thinking that something is lacking. But if we can remember to shift to gratitude, we shift to the heart. The heart has no guarantees about the future, but it is fully here in the present moment. And in this moment, there is no fear — Whatever happens, we will handle it. The heart knows that in this moment we have enough, we do enough, we are enough.
We are more than enough. When we choose to be grateful, we open the door to enough. And if all we focus on is appreciation, we’ll find that’s more than enough.