Figuring out Survival School- Radio Interview
THIS IS HARD, GUYS. We’re facilitating school for our kids, working from home, anxious about the state of the world/our health/our finances, and our typical opportunities for socialization and decompression are gone. Here’s my interview on MyBridge Radio about how we’re surviving. I’ve got a little summary of it below along with some additional thoughts I didn’t touch on during the interview. Let me know how you’re processing all this and any survival strategies you’ve learned!
Here’s the audio link:
-Keeping it real: We did have to stop this interview at one point so I could tell my youngest to go put on clothes and not bother me again. My kids seem to believe a locked bedroom door means “KNOCK LOUDER” in spite of whatever I have told them to the contrary.
-Scheduling is keeping me sane. I know that’s not how everybody functions, but I think even if it cramps your style, be mindful that you might be raising kids who NEED structure and scheduling to help them feel safe. Especially when you’re raising kids who have experienced trauma. Knowing what to expect during these very unpredictable times is helpful in keeping their brains calm. We are heavy on routine right now- getting up at the same times, eating breakfast on a set schedule (Mondays- french toast, Tuesdays- bagels, Wednesdays- oatmeal, etc.), a schedule on the wall, posting the meals for the week so they know what we’re eating, etc.
-While we are social distancing, we are still in contact with others. We are utilizing a lot of technology to allow our kids to still be connected to their friends and our family. The kids have been Facetiming with Grandma regularly and she’s reading them stories as part of their “school” time. They’ve used Facebook messenger to make video calls to cousins and friends. They’re writing letters. They’re working collaboratively with friends on writing stories through a shared google doc. We’re not typically a very tech heavy family, but we’re finding the ways it’s making our lives easier and more connected.
-Be honest, but not scary. I believe it’s important to not lie to our kids, but I don’t want them to have to carry a lot of worry over things they can’t help. So we focus on what we CAN do to keep ourselves and others safe and not let them see us obsess over the news. Honestly, it’s been very healthy for me to go with that approach for myself, too.
-WE ARE NOT ACTUALLY HOMESCHOOLING. What we’re doing is something entirely different. I’m thinking of it as Survival School. I love this quote from Warren Buffett: “The secret to happiness is having low expectations.” This might as well be my life motto at this point. We are not trying to teach the kids Latin, we’re just trying to not lose too much academic ground while keeping all of us mentally and emotionally healthy. Academics are taking a backseat right now and that’s okay.
-Kids need nurture and structure. This is not original to me, it’s a foundational principle of TBRI parenting, which is a philosophy we love in helping kids who have experienced trauma. They need to know that you love them and they need to know that they are safe. The nurture helps them feel loved and the structure helps them feel safe. One without the other is a recipe for disaster. We can’t control a lot of the unpredictable nature of what’s happening in the world right now, but we can give our kids structure. If we don’t do that, we should expect that they will feel out of control and will act out of control.
-Allow this to be a family reset moment. We don’t have to try and recreate school in our homes. We might actually benefit from looking at this as an opportunity to pause the chaos and start something fresh. When this is all over and all of the scheduling returns, will we look back and wish we had used this time differently? That’s what I want to be thinking about to make the most of this opportunity.
-THIS IS HARD. I’m validating that. Figure out how to take care of yourself so you can be the healthiest YOU for your family. Take a walk, take a bath, take a nap, take a Cadbury egg, take what you need and recognize it’s for the best of everybody in your home.