Patience is a virtue we all could spend time practicing a little more. Parents especially have had to count to 10 numerous times over the past year as they dealt with a new lifestyle of remote learning while also trying to work from home. With kids returning to school, patience will again be needed.
Everything is about to change. The routine you’ve created with your family will be disrupted and your kids may struggle with the change.
Here are a few tips for how to keep your patience as you face all of the changes coming your way.
First, what is patience? For most, patience is the ability to remain calm in a stressful situation. Rather than yelling or cursing, patience allows you to respond appropriately and effectively to the situation.
Establish a Routine
Parents who like to keep an orderly household, the return to school will feel overwhelming at first because the routine you’ve established over the last several months is now very different. But, rather than feeling overwhelmed, try to establish a new routine that fits your family. The new routine will also help to settle your child. Your child needs to feel the security of a routine. He should know what you expect him to do when he gets home from school. Make sure he has some time outside for exercise and fresh air. Establish a regular routine before bed, and make sure your child (and yourself) gets to bed the same time each night.
Understand Your Child’s Stress
Returning to school can be very stressful for your child. Even if he is excited about the possibility of being with his friends, he no longer has the comforts of being at home with you. He no longer has access to his bedroom, his stuff, or his daily routine. Keep in mind that your child can sense your stress, so it is important to keep it in check while everything abruptly changes for the entire family.
Additionally, your child may experience stress from not only the change in routine but academically. He may find himself struggling with specific subjects. Sitting in class with so many distractions may take its toll on his learning. You don’t want him to fall too far behind and continue down this path of stress and anxiety. If you don’t have time, patience or the knowledge to help, find a tutor that can take some of the stress away. Your child will receive one-on-one attention, and you can rest assured he will no longer fall further behind in school.
Know Your Own Triggers
As you try to practice patience, keep in mind your own triggers. With the change in the daily routine, you will more likely be tired. When people are tired, they are usually a little grumpier and their fuse is short. With the understanding that you are tired, also know that your child is tired. Everyone will probably overreact to silly occurrences, yet as the parent, you need to recognize the source.
Try to combat the tiredness by getting everyone, including you, to bed early. If you allow yourself to have 7 or 8 hours of sleep, you will soon feel refreshed, and the routine will feel easy. Also, get outside for some fresh air and exercise. These simple strategies can help you stay calm even if your child is throwing a tantrum about cleaning his room.
If you do overreact, it’s okay. Once you’ve calmed down, give yourself some time to reflect. Then, have a discussion with your child and problem-solve his choices or apologize if you went too far.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If after a few weeks, you still feel overwhelmed, ask other parents how they’re doing with the change in routine. They may be able to provide some of their own tips, or they may also need someone to talk to about the added stress.
Remember, everyone needs self-care. But, often it is the parent who neglects his or her own needs. Once your family’s routine has been established and your child is regularly attending school, take some time to do something you love. It may only be for an hour or two but allow yourself some time to reward yourself for getting to this point.