Pandemic “quality time” – was that really a thing? Many people have praised what they perceived as the upside of the Pandemic – quality time with our families. I’m not sure about you, but in our home “quantity” time hasn’t necessarily translated to “quality” time.
During the first part of the pandemic, quality time was hard to achieve as we were all struggling to adapt to the new norm of being home with each other ALL THE TIME. We all were going through our own emotions – depression, loss, uncertainty. We weren’t necessarily up for quality time. We were just trying to survive, to get through it.
Then as we all started to adapt, we fell into new routines.
But many of those routines tended to isolate us. Kids locked in their rooms for hours each day doing zoom school, parents in their offices (or at kitchen tables) trying to get a full day of work in, family members retreating to their own spaces on the weekend trying to find some much-needed alone time. We were constantly “seeing” each other, but not engaging or enjoying the time.
But now is a great time to hit the family pandemic reset button.
On the one hand, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, inspiring a renewed sense of hope and excitement. At the same time, as many of us are still looking at some extended time at home, there are still lots of opportunities to capitalize on our captive audience. It’s also a perfect time to reevaluate some of the new routines and practices we developed this past year.
So, let’s finish this pandemic off strong and hit the reset button. It’s time to mix things up!
Here are five ideas for a Family Pandemic Reset:
#1 – Random acts of kindness
Not only will this cheer the receiver, but the act of giving can lift a person’s spirits. Invite all household members to do something special for someone in the house – leave a funny note, bake someone’s favorite treat, do a dreaded household chore for another. You can assign one family member to each person, or just let everyone go for it. Up to you! Alternatively, as a family, devise a random act of kindness you can do together in the community.
#2 – Dedicated quality time
It’s never too late to start connecting. Brainstorm some fun and easy things you can do with your kids to build connection. Have a picnic, reinstate game night, or make a conscious effort to watch your child’s favorite tv show with them rather than working on your laptop. No need to go big.
Remember, in this family pandemic reset it’s about the quality of your time together.
#3 – Drop an expectation
If you’ve been bickering about the same things for the last year, maybe it’s time to consider letting that expectation go. Kids have had enough pressure on them. And parents, wouldn’t it be nice to take something off our plates too? Do a real family pandemic reset. Reevaluate if there is a certain expectation you can drop to let go of some of the tension.
For example, if you fight with your daughter every day about taking the trash out, let your daughter pick another chore. Or if you lose it every day about the ridiculous number of cups your son uses every day…and leaves on the counter…maybe decide to just let that battle go.
#4 – Have a family meeting
Ask everyone to share one thing that is working for them, and one thing that is not. Work together as a family to problem solve the one thing that’s not working for each person. Feeling heard and validated and working together to solve problems is not only functional and positive, but will bring people together.
#5 – Make plans!
Now that things are starting to open up, brainstorm a few things to look forward to doing as a family and put them on the calendar. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but after a year of empty calendars, having some fun things to look forward to will perk everyone up.
Go ahead and enjoy using the above tools to for a family pandemic reset and take advantage of this time with your loved ones.