We’re fast approaching the end of the first month of back-to-school. Some students are getting comfortable with the idea of being back to the classroom, while other families have decided focus on at-home learning.
With the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the possibility for a second wave, none of us really know what’s in store for the rest of the year.
This blog was inspired by those, like myself, who have been feeling the immense pressure to make the important decisions during this time. It’s dedicated to the parents, grandparents, singles and young professionals out there who are feeling the pressure that comes along with caring for and emotionally supporting both themselves and the little ones in their lives.
One thing we are sure of is that this back-to-school season has been unlike any pre-COVID-19 back-to-school season before it. While many were eager to send students back to the classroom, others felt (and continue to feel) torn on the issue; prompting a general sense and feeling of anxiety and hesitation that our children likely feel and experience as a result.
Both options present their own set of deeper challenges that come packaged with risks that most parents haven’t previously been forced to face in their child’s early learning years.
“Whichever adventure or path you have been guided to choose, that feels right for your family, a few things remain clear. We are all making transitions. We are facing unexpected challenges. We are understanding the importance of adaptability.”
Does anyone else feel like we’re living in a ‘choose your own adventure’ story world? We can’t possibly know the outcome or repercussions as we are made to choose between: (a) sending our children back to public school, with real live teachers that can offer them guidance, an in-person connection and a sense of community. And (b) harnessing the ever-evolving selection of online offerings to keep our children engaged; to provide creative learning experiences from the comfort of our own homes.
Luckily, in small communities like the one we live in (here in the heart of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia), there are smaller private schools, homeschooling groups, and near-by forest school options that offer unique curriculums; programs that aim to keep school life from feeling less COVID-affected in the eyes of the students.
Whichever adventure or path you have been guided to choose, that feels right for your family, a few things remain clear. We are all making transitions. We are facing unexpected challenges. We are understanding the importance of adaptability.
Our children absorb and learn from the behaviours they see at home, in the halls of their schools, and on the streets of their communities. They take in and listen intently to conversations on the TV/news, when chatting with their peers and in their own living/learning spaces. They may not directly show us how it’s affecting them, in fact – they may not even know that they’re being affected.
As parents, we must remind ourselves and one another (in a loving way, of course) that our actions impact our children. These actions could very well be the reason for the shifts in behaviour and the uncertainty that they’re feeling inside. Heck, these actions can affect us and the other adults around us, as well.
“Connection is a necessity of life and whether our children are back to the classroom, being homeschooled or confined at home (if it comes to that again) – it’s crucial that we continue to facilitate connections.”
I’m far from having this all figured out, though. It’s tough to give perfect advice when I’m still working through everything myself. As a single parent to a 6-year old, the learning curve has been steep. What I believe will work this week, may not be the case next week.
Something I think we can all agree on, though, is that we’re all doing our very best to offer our children a sense of stability and connection. As parents, even with the best intentions, we need to remind ourselves of some of the most simple actions that we can take on the daily. Here are a few daily practices which I have deemed to be the most important in this current time and space:
1. Have a schedule. Extra-curricular activities, weekly breakfast dates, play groups or hikes in nature. I recently registered my daughter for gymnastics, and I must admit that it felt strange to commit to something that brings parents together in a small viewing room; and the children together in a space where they take turns touching the same surfaces repeatedly, one after another.
On the other hand, Monday night gymnastics provides her with a sense of direction for the week, and a feeling of responsibility and empowerment. She gets the opportunity to uncover her strengths and develops an appreciation for commitment. I don’t know if we’ll get through the 10-week term, but the intention is there… and that’s something!
2. Talk less and listen more. I’m asking my daughter open-ended questions about her day; allowing her responses to amble into other topics that interest her. I’m giving her room to lead conversations and to ask heaps of questions. Be ok with telling your child when you’re not sure of the answer. When you’re honest and open, it helps your child to feel safe to come to terms with how they’re feeling inside while dealing with everything happening during this time.
3. Resist the temptation to react in an inflammatory way. Children respond to change in a variety of ways, and chances are when they feel uncomfortable or stressed – strong, unfiltered displays of emotion will most likely be common.
We have deeply emotional people in our family (I’m raising my hand… timidly) and while it’s important to show our emotions, it’s important to discourage hurtful or aggressive reactions. It’s always my goal to encourage my daughter and my family members to be respectful and to react in the most productive, expressive way possible.
4. Continue to create connections and nurture relationships. Scientists found that social connections help relieve harmful levels of stress, which can adversely affect gut function, insulin regulation, and the immune system. Research also suggests that caring behaviours trigger the release of stress-reducing hormones. (2)
Whether it’s a friendship, family relationship or if it’s you that they choose to spend most of their time with, do what you can to allow that relationship between you and your child to blossom and grow. Connection is a necessity of life and whether our children are back to the classroom, being homeschooled or confined at home (if it comes to that again) – it’s crucial that we continue to facilitate connections. Skype dates, letter-writing with friends and even playtime at a distance.
For example, my daughter plays regularly with the child that lives next door to us; and they have been creative in finding ways to spend time together. They found trees that they could climb up, side by side. They also played separately in sun-tents that were facing each other.
So, now… onto the topic of topical magnesium. How can this magical mineral be of assistance in supporting both you and your child during this time?
Well, first off, it helps with sleep. As we know, sleep is extremely important in the process of helping your brain to power down; all while improving bodily functions. It also gives your immune system the chance to do the important work it needs to do, fighting off dangerous infections and diseases in the process.
This fact is an important one given need for a strong immune system. Reflexology, via nightly foot massages, can be a terrific way to induce a restful state for anyone. (3)
In the case of children, you may notice that many enter an almost hypnotic state while having their feet rubbed. Loving touch is something that, as a society, we are experiencing less of but we should be finding the time to be close with our children.
A foot rub, coupled with the addition of our topical magnesium cream will allow your child’s stress level to lower. The magnesium also allows the body’s muscles and heart rate to relax; promoting a restful night’s sleep.
This is something you should also offer to yourself. In the case of adults, though, we suggest application of the magnesium cream to the lower abdomen as it is ideal for superior absorption. An adult’s skin isn’t as delicate as a child’s (which is why we recommend application to the feet for them), but adults are able to tolerate application to most areas of the body. Magnesium is also known for its capacity to lower stress levels, which means you can consider application to your child’s feet in the morning as well, depending on the child’s needs.
If you have questions about how magnesium can be introduced to your family’s daily routine, leave them in the comments below or email me at [email protected].
Stay safe out there, friends. You’ve got this!
In health and happiness,
CEO & Founder, Nourished Magnesium