COVID Got You and Your Kids Stir Crazy?
COVID got you and your kids stir crazy?
Your kids have been back in school for a couple weeks now. As you read this, point one hand up toward the sky. Now, bend your elbow and give yourself a pat on the back! And if that didn’t feel satisfactory, pause and take a deep breath in, hold it and slowly exhale. After 6 months of unknowns, circumstances that are out of your control and a lot of challenges, this is one step toward normalcy. Ok, maybe not the normal we are all used to or really want, but it is a step in the right direction.
In all honesty though, starting school has come with it’s own set of new challenges and irritations. How do you not just “make it through” right now, but actually feel like you are succeeding and can we dare say, even thriving?
After many, many months of literally doing nothing, starting back to school may be more challenging than kids would like to admit. It’s hard to turn on that full attention span, find the motivation, or even engage socially. They are out of practice. And we all know they won’t ask for help for these things. They may, instead, show it in their behavior or emotional outbursts.
No matter how old your kids are, they need intentional time. This sounds strange since you’ve been cooped up with them for half a year now and are around each other constantly. No, this is not the same as intentional time. They need to know that you can still enjoy each other’s company as a family. They need to feel that they are not just an irritation or inconvenience at this point.
Here are 5 ideas of (quick and easy!) ways to spend time as a family:
- Nighttime Popcorn Drive
Make a couple bags of popcorn. Or if you’d like to show off, make a couple different kinds by asking your kids what kind of “gourmet” popcorn they’d like: you can add cheddar cheese, garlic, chocolate, etc. Take this popcorn and load up in the car once the sun goes down. Drive around looking at street lights and as you get further from town, do some star gazing. You can even pull over, throw a blanket out and lay down together to look at the stars.
- Outdoor Movie Night
While the weather is still nice, throw some sleeping bags outside on the deck or in the yard, bring some pillows and blankets and set up a comfy sitting area. Bring dinner or snacks outside and as the sun is going down, start a movie on your laptop.
- Tent Making
That’s right! Tent making isn’t just something little kids enjoy. I guarantee, with the right attitude and involvement, your teens will be all about this. Pull the big guns out! Bring some furniture outside or even in your living room, and build an epic fort. This can be a temporary homework haven or again, another great option for a movie night.
- Progressive Dinner
Castle Rock has some great restaurants and you need to get everyone out of the house. To keep time commitments low and kids engaged-- change it up! Go to a restaurant and order an appetizer, or two, to share and then head to another spot. Get a couple main dishes to share and then go somewhere else for dinner. Again, this will keep kids excited about the next spot, they’ll appreciate the variety, and they don’t have to sit still for over an hour!
- One on One “Dates”
If you have multiple children it can be hard to feel like you are connecting with each of them. Set aside a night each week to have “one-on-one” time with one of your children, and then change it up so they all get a turn. ASK THEM what they’d like to do and give them options so they feel they are contributing. And you know your kids best. If they shy away from the very personal or deep conversations, keep it light! You don’t want this to be a chore! Just go, have fun, and tell them some fun stories and maybe even ask a few light questions.
The most important thing is the “change-up”. Our kids need to see the “effort” we are putting into them outside of the normal day to day (yes, they’re sick of it too). These ideas can be super easy to throw together and as always, invite your kids to be a part of it. Their investment in it will make them feel connected, responsible and in control.