Many of us are still in the throes of cleaning out, cleaning-up, and supporting neighbors. We may be for quite some time. It is difficult to pause to look at what our children need next.  This is an important pause, however difficult it may seem.  With the start of school pushed back a week, we are piecing together childcare, playdates, and camps.

Just like we may not know what is coming next, our children do not know what we have planned for them.  Returning to routine and normalcy is important to their sense of security, community, and trust in the world.  Here are some steps that might help your family get there.

Take time.  Take time to plan your next week, and if possible the next two weeks or month.  Adding in a class together, or a special stop for ice cream will help.  I told my children that today I will pick them up and we will go to the bookstore together.  This helps them keep focus on what we know and not get lost in what we don’t.  This helps keep the trust between us, and the calm as they see me as a decision-maker.

Don’t say what you can’t guarantee.  At this point, our children have been through quite a few surprises.  It is best if we stick to telling them what we do know about our routine.  You can say, “You will go to school on Monday September 11th.”  Show them the calendar, even if it’s just the one on your phone.  Point to today.  Count the number of days until Monday.  If your child is not in school yet, plan a date at the park with them.  Use your calendar to show them which day, always showing them today and then counting to the scheduled event.

Find your normal.  If you have a yoga class, space for meditation, or a route you like to run, take time to do it.  Not only does your body need to release this energy, but your mind needs the time and space.  We can help ourselves to process our feelings through physical exertion.  Returning to part of your routine that you can count on will help you feel more centered and then that feeling will carry to your child.

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