There has never been a situation like this, where families are stuck together for months, with parents often working from the living room. Sadly, we’ve seen all kinds of negative outcomes due to this situation which impact families, from the loss of income to increased tension between the people at home.
But the pandemic hasn’t been all bad for everyone. COVID has also been an opportunity for many families to develop in a positive way for the long term. It’s heartening to believe, perhaps, that COVID has given some families the chance to bond in ways that would otherwise not have been possible.
The coronavirus has been stressful, is still causing pervasive uncertainty, and has turned the lives of literally everybody in the world upside down. It’s doubtful that any family has remained untouched by actual infection. Under these conditions, it is essential to understand that the responses of adults are having a huge influence on children.
In fact, parents are society’s main role models, followed by teachers and celebrities (so, despite Instagram and TikTok, there’s still hope!).
Taking a positive attitude and showing your kids the bright side of the situation is therefore essential in demonstrating how to handle tough circumstances. This might require some fake smiles and empty platitudes here and there – but isn’t that already part of being a parent?
So if you have been putting your best spin on the pandemic, your kids are more likely to be resilient as well in the future.
Sharing Responsibilities – and Gratitude
Trends indicate that younger generations aren’t learning basic domestic skills like cooking or cleaning. Instead, they are eating at restaurants – and buying takeaway, now that restaurants are closed. And when it comes to cleaning up, well, use your imagination.
Lockdowns give parents the opportunity to create schedules for kids involving school work, physical exercise, and chores in order to learn how to organize their day and become more independent. For adult life, few lessons could be more valuable. Cooperatively organizing the day for your kids also occupies their time, encourages them to think more about taking care of the household (imagine finding the milk in the fridge for once), and acts as a means for parents to give them compliments.
Finally, giving your children tasks beyond being home on time and doing their homework allows them to enjoy the benefits of increased responsibility. For example, if they are learning how to cook, they get to pick what; or after cleaning their room for a certain number of weeks, they get to pick a new adornment.
Seeing a Different Side of You
Instead of “take your kid to work day”, we’ve had “watch your parents at work for a year”. Working from your living room means that your children can often see you with your “game face” on. On one hand, for those of us who need to deal with tough work situations over Zoom, this means that kids might see an aspect of our personalities that is new – argumentative, aggressive, frustrated, etc.
On the other hand, it gives them a real idea of what you do and what work is often like. It makes your professional life less of mystery and teaches kids that work often requires a much wider range of skills than can be explained by your job description. This can help them form realistic attitudes towards careers and their work ethic.
But most important of all is teaching them the value of effort. Seeing you hard at work sends the most important message, which actually has more influence over your children’s careers than the particular job that you have – only 7% of children take the same jobs as their parents.
In 2019, one study explained that 95% of knowledge workers wanted to work remotely, 74% were even willing to quit their job to do so, and 44% cited spending more time with family as a reason for wanting to work from home.
So, they finally got their wish (is there an emoji for “sucker”?).
But seriously, COVID 19 has, in a way, forced us to do what many of us say we want to do – spend time with the whole family while eating, watching movies, and passing every day together. Before devices, screens, apps, and streaming, families sometimes had no choice but to share boredom. Sometimes, it was even fun and created memories to cherish forever.
A Story for the Ages
COVID 19 is among the most significant global events in modern history. Just imagine, your kids will be telling their grandkids about the Great COVID Pandemic, and talking about what life was like at home for (at least) a year or so.
So look at the big picture and try to make this a time of family development that your kids will emulate in the future. Perhaps the most valuable lesson that they will learn during the pandemic is how individual responsibility carries us forward in life, and that fulfilling responsibilities is the surest way to achieve happiness and pride.