Schools being cancelled and families spending most of their time at home is not easy! Right now, parents are really doing it all: they are the source of comfort, entertainment, education, structure, and health for their kids. It's a lot but, parents, you aren't alone. To get an idea of what quarantine-life is like with school-aged children, we reached out to our herbalist and master blender, Paola, and asked her a few questions. Here is what she told us… 
First of all, kids don't easily understand the severity of COVID-19 and parents don't always agree on the severity, either. Mom might want the kids to wash their hands 20 times a day, while dad thinks a little bit of germs are good for immunity (or visa versa). This can make it really hard for couples to stay on the same team in front of their kids, and it makes it so much harder to provide structure and guidance when you don't have a cohesive message.

Have a discussion with your partner privately about your approach, and plan on meeting them in the middle. There is hardly ever a "right" or "wrong" way. The key is to have a plan that appeals to both parents and to stick to it when in front of your kids. This can be as simple as, "Can we agree to have the kids wash their hands every time they re-enter the home after playing outside and prior to eating or drinking, and can we agree that we'll both enforce this standard?" Team work, makes the dream work! 
While your mind might be on daily work tasks, finances, your elderly loved one's well-being, or your relationship with your partner, you also have to worry about whether or not your kids are going to be prepared for the upcoming school year. Parents are feeling a lot of pressure about homeschooling, but you aren't alone. When August arrives, all kids will have missed the same amount of time in the standard classroom and you're probably doing much better than you think. 

Your kids, of course, have to follow the recommended curriculum, but what they can learn from you at home might be more valuable than you realize. Now is a great time to let your kids try out a recipe and learn that attention to detail really is important. You can also delegate more regular household chores like laundry, cleaning, or even repairing something that is broken. With so much extra time your kids can really focus and make sure they're executing each task well, and they definitely have time for redos. 

Don't undervalue the power of teaching your kids general life-skills. Paola said that she used to make tea for the family, but since schools have been cancelled, her two young ones are learning to prepare tea properly (steeped at the right temperature and for the right amount of time). We think this is a pretty special habit to teach young ones!
It's hard explaining to school-aged kids why they can't play with their friends, and it's equally hard on adults not having their social outlets, their date nights, and their mental break from parenting. We all could use a little more play.

Getting out in nature is truly medicine for the mind and body. Take bike rides, go on walks, and lounge in the front yard as much as possible. Sunshine is anti-bacterial, is mentally uplifting, and can even help you get a better nights sleep. In the book "How to Stop Losing Your Shit on Your Kids" the author explains the importance of the prefrontal cortex for logical reasoning and impulse control, and here is the kicker - your kids don't really have one yet. This means, as a parent, you are the prefrontal cortex for your children. The prefrontal cortex needs quality sleep in order to function properly. Exercising outside in the sunshine will help you sleep better, and therefore nourish this important part of the brain so you can be strong for yourself and for your family.
Kids are over it. Parents are over it. We're all over it.

Make a chart of activities your kids can turn to when they are bored or antsy. You can include things like…
1. Muddle berries and herbs to make homemade paint and paint a picture.
2. Look up a recipe on Pinterest to try out.
3. Teach your pet a new trick.
4. Make a flower crown from wildflowers in the yard.
5. Write notes with inspiring messages to leave on the doors of your favorite businesses or neighbors.
No matter what your situation is, whether you're a single parent or have a live-in nanny, good parenting is a service to society. For this reason, parents feel more pressure than most. Hang in there, and just remember that every struggle we have is an opportunity to grow. You and your family might feel like you're growing a lot right now! But don't be too hard on yourself - you're probably doing much better than you give yourself credit for.

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