parenting in times of uncertainty

Letter to Parents During Times of Uncertainty

We’ve found ourselves facing times of uncertainty.  I wrote this letter to the parents of students at St. Joseph School in Shelbyville, Indiana, but it’s for you as well.  This message is for any parent who find themselves with children at home during this unprecedented time.

Dear Parents,

It goes without saying that this is an uncertain time and that we’re living through something like we’ve never experienced before.  It’s difficult for us as adults let alone for our children. That’s why I want to remind you that I’m here for you. You are not alone.

Today I want to give you a few tips as you navigate this time with your children.  

  1. Take care of yourself.  This is not selfish.  It’s necessary. It’s important for you to be healthy in mind and body so that you can be present and available to your children.  Self-care looks differently for everyone – waking up a few minutes before everyone else, a workout, a chat with a friend, reading a book, etc. –  but the end result is the same: a better, more grounded you.
  2. Assure your children of your love and God’s love for them.  They are likely feeling very insecure right now.  They need to know that there are things in their life they can count on:  Your love. God’s love.  
  3. Allow your children to express their feelings.  There are no right or wrong feelings associated with this time…for you or your children.  Oftentimes children don’t know how to appropriately express their feelings so it comes out in irritation and anger.  When meltdowns and tantrums happen, give them grace. Allow them space and then speak calmly to them and ask them about their feelings.  Help them identify and articulate what they are feeling. Identify what situations cause negative responses. Always provide reassurance.  Perhaps provide a safe place – a special chair or small room – where they can go for a time-out, not as a place of punishment, but a place for them to retreat to gather themselves. This might be helpful for the entire family to have this location so that others know you need a few minutes alone. 
  4. As much as you can, keep things “normal” but also allow space to be flexible.  Keep them on a bedtime and wake up schedule.  Have designated times for meals and snacks. Assign a location for school work.  However, know that this time is anything but normal and things will happen, schedules will change, and that’s okay. 
  5. Get outside.  Fresh air is healing for the soul!  Make sure you and they move regularly.  Go for a walk as a family or simply sit on the front steps for a while each day. Take short breaks throughout the day.  Have a spontaneous dance party. Inhale and exhale the fresh air. 

Most importantly, know this:  That same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you!  You have ready access to this power. 

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11 (NKJV)  

We know the end of the story. It was dark on Friday but Sunday came. 

Recall a difficult time in your life and how God walked with you through it and took you to the other side.  He will see us through this as well.  

Here for you and with you,

Marsha Apsley, M.S., LMHC

A letter to parents who find themselves parenting in times of uncertainty. #support #pandemic2020 #covid19 Click To Tweet

Written April 2020.

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