“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” ~ Bette Midler
Yesterday was an unusually clear, bright sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest. The temps reached almost 50F.
After an incredibly long, rainy, windy, and exhausting week, I promised myself to do less, putter more and to rest this weekend. This translated into raking leaves, then stringing some early holiday lights on the front bushes.
What I didn’t expect was a few neighbors to come over and chat from an exceptionally safe distance.
It was delightful to laugh, share and listen to each other as we described our personal at-home-craziness and how we were coping.
We joked about how many people were decorating early for the upcoming holidays.
I added, “this is the first year I’ve ever put lights up so soon and yet I really needed to get outside and do something special.”
Neighbor A: “Everything is different but one thing I’ve been doing is treating myself to a weekly latte.” She shared as if confessing. “Sometimes the drive thru takes forever, but I need to get out of the house!”
Neighbor B: “I’ve finally had time to catch-up on movies and read more books, but I also love working from home. It’s easier than dealing with traffic.”
We kept volleying our comments back and forth, nodding and understanding each other.
As a former elementary school teacher, who later became a private tutor for grades K-12, I can assure you there are ways we can be more prepared if our children aren’t able to return to school this fall.
In this article, I focus on the possibility of not having our children return to school in August or September because of COVID-19.
Ask yourself, what worked for you before and what didn’t? Make a list of pros and cons. Reframe the negative aspects the best you can. Our attitude as parents will foster our children’s perspective.
Granted, this last spring wasn’t ideal. Yet, how can we prepare to make it better if we need to repeat another round of ‘homeschooling’ this fall?
I’m huge on being prepared. Probably to the point of being overprepared. So, here are some suggestions. I’d love to hear your ideas too.
Reevaluate your child’s learning area.
I am a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. It’s been a surreal time of regrouping and finding my new normal. Like many, I had hoped by mid-April I’d be back to my office.
However, it looks like social distancing will be in place much longer.
During the last few weeks I’ve been offering telehealth options. In addition, I’ve been thinking more about what works for me, and perhaps how it can help you as we all adapt to the changes.
Managing space, schedules and routines
Give each other space. Some people who are introverted and highly sensitive might be overwhelmed by the amount of increased socializing with everyone home. On the other hand, extroverted people might need more attention.
This disparity can be frustrating for both. Identifying your needs and sharing them with your family members will help. Honoring and respecting our differences is quite the art of putting love into action.
Personally, as an INFP, and a highly sensitive person, I’m slowly leaning towards at least an hour or two each day where I’m off limits to everyone!
Carolyn Riker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in private practice. She is also the author of three books. Her most recent book is "My Dear, Love Hasn't Forgotten You."