The 24 Hours Challenge

 

for parents/caregivers

 

 
I’m sick of COVID talk but this needs to be said. I don’t care where you stand with masks or vaccines or lockdowns. Please hear me out.
 
 
I’m a mom of five kids, one in high school and two in middle school. Yesterday was the 1st series of virtual parent-teacher conferences. I spoke with three of my high school child’s teachers. Fortunately my child is doing well in school. He’s getting his work done and he’s a regular contributor to class discussions and his teachers appreciate his friendly attitude and thoughtful responses.
 
 
Unfortunately, this is not the case for the vast majority of kids. And I’m not talking about their marks.
 
 
 
One teacher in particular compared his experience teaching last year to this year. He said, “They don’t say anything. They’re just shut down. All you see is this mask and two eyes. You can’t see what’s happening under the mask and you worry. I worry.”
 
 
 
My heart broke. What are we doing to our kids?!
 
 
I’m not blaming the government. I’m not blaming healthcare. I don’t want to get political or, as I said at the beginning, I don’t care what side of the mask or vaccine or lockdown issue you stand. That doesn’t matter right now because there’s nothing you or I can do to change any of that in the next 24 hours.
 
 
What matters is this: What is it like inside your house? What are your kids seeing and hearing? What are they doing in their non-school hours? Because there’s more non-school time this year than ever before.
 
 
I want to suggest something to you. Something my husband and I have consciously done in an increasing way since school started up again in fall. Something you can do in the next 24 hours that can have a positive affect on your children.
 
 
Make your home a fun zone. Encourage your kids to get outside for regular exercise. Play music and dance like no one’s watching. Make each other laugh. Watch funny movies together. Celebrate anything good and every accomplishment, no matter how small!
 
 
Try to keep your home a safe haven for your family. Make sure everyone knows they’re safe inside your four walls. They’re loved, they’re taken care of, they have nothing to fear. Unfortunately not all kids get this opportunity but if you’re a parent reading this, I know that you are one of the majority who cares deeply about their children’s well-being.
 
 
What are your kids experiencing at home? Is it fearfulness and anxiety, anger and shouts at the injustices happening around us? There is a time and place for that, but our kids can only handle so much of that. We ALL need to dial that down when we’re at home.
 
 
Our kids are picking up on our tension, our frustrations, our fatigue and they’ve become more fearful. Anxiety and depression in teens was already on the rise pre-COVID…
 
 
I think we all need to consciously set a new tone inside our homes. Now, more than ever, our children need their parents to offer them a safe place to Just. Be. Kids.
 
 
Turn off the news, put down your phone, and have some fun with your kids this weekend.
 
That’s your 24 hour challenge!