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Parenting in a Crisis – the New Reality!

by Ruwaidha Liwaza

Isn’t this the strangest time for all of us? Let’s rewind back a month and see ourselves in our normal mornings. The fire-stress-builder and a typical cause of morning madness was getting children up, packing breakfast and lunch, and getting them out of the door. You may agree that even if it was the norm, it was never perfect.
Now, in this present time with your children at home and most of you having to work in that same space, don’t you wish that the children would sleep in till lunch, so that at least you can get a little bit of your work done without the stress of also balancing the needs of your family? As much as you would love that, the guilt feeling of a parent would supersede your struggle of getting work done with your children running around all over you.
What can you as parents do to keep your sanity and balance your life and habits to adjust to this new normal?

Here are seven things you can do to start each day in a positive fashion and end the day feeling accomplished and guilt free. 
Be a Role Model:
This is where Montessori Philosophy plays it’s best role in your everyday life. Parents can influence children’s behavior by modeling. If you wake up before your children, do a little exercise routine, dress up and sit down to work with your coffee and a light breakfast, it creates the perfect ambiance. Your bright face and greeting them with a smile would help children start their day with a positive mental attitude. You can easily avoid the moaning and groaning. 
Morning Routine:
Create a morning routine that the children themselves are responsible to adhere to. A non-negotiable routine that is built in collaboration with the children could minimize the unnecessary whining since you can always say, “Well, we all agreed on it!” A great way to reduce push backs will be to re-evaluate those routines every two weeks. Any wiggle room other than that can cause meltdowns and tantrums. A little schedule like: wake up, make bed, wash up, get dressed, have breakfast and clean up can be an easy to follow routine.
Laying out a weekly menu:
Even though you don’t convert your kitchen into a cafe or dine in, having a weekly menu can help you win half of the battle. Find a set time weekly to sit down and brainstorm on menu items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are one of those families who prefers to eat left over dinner for lunch, then there you go. The list doesn’t get too long then.
Nightly Prep Work:
Before bed, incorporate a nightly routine of having specific things done for morning. Keep morning clothes preselected and set out, breakfast utensils out and easily accessible. Even some of the prep work for those yummy overnight fruit oatmeal or just the ingredients cut or julienne. Your children would love it, if you get their assistance as well. It can become a a fun bonding time as well!
Getting dressed up even if you are home:
You don’t have to worry about matching clothes and accessories. However, the fact that you need to get up, get dressed and sit down for breakfast would motivate you and your children to stay with positive energy. Even your youngest can play a role in deciding what they need to wear before their head hits the pillow as part of the nightly prep work. This way the only thing left will be sticking with the plan.
Wake-up Time:
As much as we wish children would not get up with the light of dawn, you still need to remember that if you want your days to go smoother now and later when things slowly ease out, children need to remain in a routine. Normalizing a child to daily life is a harder task than to continue pushing to maintain the normalcy. Encourage them to rise and shine early. Set up an alarm and help them get used to waking up for that coo coo sound or the loud chiming. You may want the child’s involvement in this as well. What is the best time for the alarm to go off in the morning? This can be something they get to decide during this time, for a change.
 Instill Self-Responsibility:
Whether it is following a morning schedule or nightly prep work, getting dressed or wake up time, the child gets self-confidence, sense of independence and respect for responsibility through everyday tasks. During this Pandemic or just our normal everyday life, no text book rule says that to be a great parent you have to do everything for your children.
Being a parent is an irreplaceable blessing. Though everyday is unique, parenting is the best life lesson one can get. What’s the excitement of living if we don’t get opportunities to face challenges, overcome them and adapt to them?