Creative Child

Stay Sane and Create Much-Needed Boundaries with Your Child

by Deborah Song

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2. It pays dividends to invest in the kids first. The order of things matters, at least in my family. By filling the kids’ buckets first, I find it better equips them to fill ours. For instance, I decided to do the candle project first before doing my taxes. In attending to my kids’ needs first, I find this leaves them more willing to give me my time and play by themselves.

3. Stick to a consistent mealtime. To preempt a nuclear hangry meltdown, stick to timely meals. While you’re at it, having a loose menu planned out for the week greatly takes the stress out of meal planning as well.

4. Exercise. Getting exercise is more challenging than ever. Parks and gyms are closed. There are no extracurricular sports. No P.E. But getting exercise now is more important than ever. Exercise will not only bolster your immune system and provide a first line of defense against all attacks on your body, viral or otherwise. But it will also boost your mood, provide more energy and sharpen your mind.  By incorporating exercise into your day, you are enabling yourself to face the next day with more energy and optimism. Kids need to move around too just as much if not more than you do. Why not do it together? Exercise could be a great way to get some quality time with your child.

5.Get the kids to pitch in with cleaning. With all that’s going on, nobody could judge you for not having an orderly house. I doubt even Martha Stewart’s home looks very Marth Stewart-y right now. But science shows that physical clutter creates mental clutter. Organization is an important part of maintaining boundaries. Just don’t go at it alone. Everyone needs to pitch in. Get your kids involved.

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One of my best cleaning techniques to get kids to pitch in is not to overwhelm them. Instead of saying, go clean your room, which is an arbitrary ask, assign a small section to clean, or limit their cleaning time to five minutes. It’s amazing how much cleaning can get done when it’s a concerted effort. Even if my kids are still deep into their cleaning five minutes later, I encourage them to wrap it up. By creating finite limits, I find my kids are more prone to clean the next time around.

6. Read together. If you’re finding homeschooling next to impossible, you’re not alone. So we can’t maximize their learning right now with oral book reports and trips to the virtual museum. But if there’s one thing we can do, I believe is to instill a love of reading. To this end, try positive associations, like cookies and books, or read aloud to your child. Maybe their pace of learning might diminish now that they’re out of the classroom. But if you can instill a love of reading somehow, they’ll more than make up with it in the years to come.

Deborah Song is the founder of travelbyword.com, a cruelty-free company committed to creating travel accessories that help travelers journey with ease, efficiency and elegance. She loves to travel the globe in pursuit of good food, wider life perspectives and great adventure stories with her kids. Deborah is a Canadian-born, mompreneur and Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master’s in journalism from New York University. You can find her travel stories at www.blog/travelbyword.com.

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