While there is enough stress needing to adapt your recovery regimen to the current health and safety guidelines, this stress is likely elevated knowing that you need to incorporate the needs of your children, too. It is hard to suggest that you just roll with the punches, but the only way to begin to alleviate the stress that might hinder your day is to accept that things are going to be different. Understand that there are ways in which to make this time productive for your children, as well as useful for your recovery.
Talk With Your Kids
Everything needs to begin somewhere, so it’s best to get everyone on the same page. Talk with your kids and help them understand how you need to work together for their own benefit, as well as for your recovery. Consider their age and be sensitive when you present these challenges and how to overcome them. For instance, just because they are not in school and you are not going to the office does not mean that work does not need to be done.
Consider the Opportunities
While this is going to be a test for your recovery, there are benefits to be gained. This could be a good opportunity to not only strengthen your bond with your children, but to build a great deal of self-confidence in yourself. You might explore new activities with your children that you may never have done in your former routine. Take a proactive approach to both your recovery and your parenting and seize the opportunity.
Structure a Plan
A good plan will consider the needs of all parties. You should incorporate ways to involve your kids, but to also allow yourself the space that you need. The rules set should be fair, but enforced to reinforce the structure.
Plan for Interruptions and Set Boundaries
Your workday will not be the same. Your kids will have needs and moments of crisis that you are going to have to address. Therefore, plan for this by doing little things, such as hitting the mute button during a conference call whenever you’re not talking—this will prepare you in case a crying child comes to your door. Next, wherever you decide to set up a workstation, help your kids understand that this is your space. In order to get your attention while in this space, they need to knock first and ask for permission to enter. These protocols should help them to understand boundaries and not to bother you over every little distraction in their day.
Give Your Kids a Work Schedule, Too
While it is impossible to shut yourself away from your kids for the entirety of a workday, there are ways to manage your time to get the most productivity out of your day. First, arrange your breaks and lunchtimes in a way that can effectively help them to reset and refocus. A mid-morning break can be utilized to check up on your kids and change their activity, which could potentially grant you the undisturbed time you need to make it to lunch. Creating an activity center for them to feel like they are at the office might be fun, too. Depending on their age, you might arrange activities for them to complete by the mid-morning break—e.g., coloring, crafting, reading—anything that will keep them engaged. While it might be tempting to park them in front of the TV, you should try to stimulate their minds with activities that promote growth.
Make Games Out of Ordinary Chores/Responsibilities
Children love to play, so why not make ordinary household chores fun for them? This will provide you with a way to interact with them while cleaning and getting work done around the house. For example, around dinner time, make-believe you are running a restaurant. You cook, while your children clear and set the table. These little games can help keep your kids engaged in the activity, as opposed to asking them to set the table. You could also play hotel—in this game, you need to keep the bedrooms and “lobby” clean by dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, or putting clothes in the wash. The same could be applied to exercise; turn your living room into a “gym” and incorporate the kids so they can exercise, too.
Get Creative When Connecting With Family and Friends
Like you, your children need to connect with their friends and family. Since you cannot go and see Grandma and Grandpa, you will need to take the time to utilize online services to visit. Sometimes these interactions don’t keep the kids as interested. They might get antsy early on in the call, since screen sharing is not the best form of communication. Instead of restricting them to sit in on a call while the adults visit, incorporate them in fun ways.
Book a Show
Put your kids’ creativity to use. Maybe they can put on a talent show for Grandma and Grandpa, or their aunts and uncles. They could sing, perform magic, dance, etc.—this is a great exercise to not only help your kids stay engaged, but it is also a nice change of pace for you and your other family members. This is also a good way to give your kids something to work on. When you promote that there is going to be a talent show this Saturday, allow your kids a week to prepare. This will not keep their minds busy in a productive way.
Make Time for Yourself
You need time to disconnect and get back in touch with yourself. One of the best ways to allot time for yourself is to stagger your bedtimes. Have your kids asleep an hour or two before you; this way, you can give yourself the time needed to meditate, stretch, take a hot bath, read, or write. Your recovery should always be the focus, so this is a good time to stay in touch with your recovery and track your progress—another day under your belt where you remain sober is another cause to celebrate.
Recovery is not easy and can be more challenging when you are a single parent. Since current times have changed the way everybody around the world functions, you might be feeling swept up in an insurmountable amount of stress. Understand that you are not alone, and there is help. True Recovery offers 24/7 support to help you maintain your recovery by finding the right kind of care for you. If you are feeling the burden of stress, do not wait—please call us today at (866)-399-6528.