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reset button

The Opportunity to Reset as a Family

How many times during lockdown have you said, “I wish we were back to normal?” “I can’t wait to get back to normal?” or perhaps your even, “I think it’s too soon to get back to normal” But what if our ‘normal’ wasn’t normal? 

What if this is a perfect opportunity to reset our families?

 It seems strange to me in any walk of life to ever ‘go back’, indeed we are always meant to move forwards, still learning, continually growing. I mean that’s why our feet move forward, one step at a time.

 Is the constant grind of work, school, activities for kids, gym, coffee shops, whatever that was all that normal? Of course, our children have to go to school, most of us work, fun days out are also essential, and coffee shop visits are pleasant. It’s good for our children to go to other activities outside school but do we need them frequently in our weekly family routines?

 The week before lockdown

I recall the week before lockdown; I worked in a school with a class of primary seven children. It was first thing in the morning, and when I looked around the room, it struck me that most of them wasn’t actually in the room with me. I could see some yawns, and at that moment, I asked the question, “How many of you are feeling tired this morning?” I wasn’t surprised to see that they all put their hands up. Then I continued, “How many of you couldn’t get the sleep last night?” Hands swept up across the room once again. Again I continued, “How many of you go to more than three activities outside of school every week?” My heart sunk when also most of the room put their hands up. Last question I asked, “How many of you don’t want to go to all of them?” Most children put their hands up.  

Is family life too busy?

In this moment I realised that we are too busy as families, lots of children go to so many activities that they are exhausted. I don’t think for a minute that this comes from a wrong place of parenting. I believe the opposite –  parents are seeking experiences to develop their children and spending time and money taking children to activities, which I think is essential but only children enjoy.

 It’s brilliant that children get the chance to experience different activities but right now why not think; what are the activities that your child enjoys? Those are the ones to keep moving forward. The activities that allow your child to express who they are on a deeper level – BRILLIANT!

However, what are activities you struggle getting your child out to each week? The activities you wished to do as a child, and you live our through your child because you want them to have an even better upbringing that you had yourself. The problem with that is if it’s not their thing, we are imposing an identity on them that’s not truly theirs.

Time to be still

Likewise, as a family unit, what are things you want to make changes in together, I know for me it’s more time at home to be still, to chill out with no schedule for a full day every week, to play more board games together, spend less money, the list goes on.

Amid this pandemic that’s all around us, there is a genuine opportunity for us to press the reset button and move forward into a new routine, a more connected and rested family unit and not back to what we had.

 

Eileen Russell
Founder & Play Therapist

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