Texoma Area Living Well Magazine May/June 2020 - Page 36

CREATIVE STRUCTURE––THE NEW NORMAL By Georgia Smith-Lyle, MA, LPC-Supervisor T he days of our children getting up in the mornings and getting off to school were cut short by the pan- demic, COVID-19. There was no time to prepare for this life changing event. One day the routine was normal, and the next day you are told the schools are closed and there will be online teaching from your home. Not only can they not go to school, all social activities chil- dren were involved in ceased. Staying at home and isolat- ed from others “quickly” became the new norm. Yikes! Not only was there a pandemic, but there was panic in many households. School life in 2020 will go down in history! COVID-19 is a history maker/changer. Many have found this transition time very chaotic and difficult. Many of you were forced to put some sort of structure to routines at home. So how do you have structure, but still be creative? Too much structure can inhibit creativity, but just enough structure in place provides security and encourages creativ- ity. Parents, this is a time for you to “think outside the box” and become the teacher as best you know. Before discussing creative structure––the new normal for the children––it’s important to discuss mom and dad’s relation- ship and some ideas to weather this storm. Mom and dad are the hub, the central stable piece of the family. How par- ents communicate with each other, how they show affection and interaction are vital to family security. Parents have an “opportunity” to demonstrate healthy interaction between two people, showing kindness, patience and respect. 34 TEXOMA AREA Living Well Magazine | MAY/JUNE 2020 Firstly, communicate respectfully and watch your tone with each other because you are being watched by your chil- dren. The ways you communicate are perfect teachable moments with lifelong effects. Secondly, parents, find 20 to 30 minutes a day of uninterrupted time to talk with each other and connect. It doesn’t have to be serious talk all the time, but the pandemic has forced unexpected changes to your life financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically; so, talk about these changes and how to move forward. Thirdly, have a date night “in the home” at least one time a week. Make it fun…watch a movie, cook dinner together. Do whatever you want to connect and enjoy one another. Tell the children this is your time together and do not let them interrupt unless it’s an emergency. By the time this article reaches you, the social restrictions may have lifted to a degree, but I still believe this is a good idea, especially if you are trying to be careful financially. The last idea I have to offer is to take a break from the kids 30 minutes to an hour each day. If one spouse needs a break, even for 15 mins, try to provide what they need. Be helpful and considerate of each other and carry the respon- sibility of the children together. Children thrive in structure! Be creative but still have a struc- tured time frame of choice activities throughout the day. Write down your plan with time frames. Remember, you can always change plan according to your own needs and the ages of your children. It’s a perfect opportunity for the older children to have responsibility for the younger ones