Q: How can parents model patience to children while we wait out this pandemic?
I am often posed this question, by parents and reporters, with phrasing that is some version of “while we wait this out.”
Here’s the thing: The solution, the answer to this question, is buried in the question itself. Children of all ages are very grounded in the present, so implying to them that they are “waiting it out” also implies to them (and the parents) they are missing out; that now is not as good as then or later. The question itself tells us that staying home is difficult.
But, is it?
By seeing everything as a phase opportunity you shift the focus back into the present and the stress automatically lessens.
While you’re in this phase, tell jokes and laugh about not having to hug people with bad breath or scratchy beards. Talk about it at the child’s level, make it relatable, make it a gift. Remote schooling means sleeping till the last minute and eating breakfast while you work. YAHOO! Wearing masks hides pimples and stained teeth, makes you look mysterious and is easier to play ‘guess who’ when you meet up with old friends. Teach about understanding people using body language and eye expressions.
Most of all, make it a special year or two with opportunities like learning social media etiquette and focusing on the benefits of the moment. These are skills you and your child need. They will benefit you for life.
Bonus: There’s no better time than the present to put home economics and shop class back into the curriculum. No better time to teach what you know (and learn what they know) rather than abdicating to academics.
Let’s model patience during this pandemic. We can help ourselves do so by recognizing this as an opportunity to be explored and exploited rather than waited out.