It Takes a Village: 5 Tips for Coping Without Your Child’s Village

Coping without a village support system

Get yourself and your family through these tough times and social distancing.

Many parents are experiencing one particularly tough side-effect of social distancing: the lack of easily accessible support from others.

Although Boise is slowly taking steps to return to normal, including the reopening of schools for in-person learning, we still have a long way to go. Parents may elect to keep their kids home from school for a while longer, while others may be struggling to return to work while coping with the ongoing changes in their family’s schedules.

Wherever you fall on the spectrum, you might feel like the proverbial “village” in your children’s lives is missing and you’re on your own. We want to reassure you that you’re not alone in your struggles and offer a helping hand in the form of these 5 tips.

1. When it comes to self-care, choose techniques that are realistic and effective for you, not someone else.

Stress takes a toll when it builds up, which is why self-care is such an important thing to practice on a regular basis. However, self-care is only effective at busting stress if you do it regularly and do what actually works for you.

Experiment with different things and see what you like. You might try guided meditations, journaling, running, or yoga. Don’t forget about those quick stress busters, like deep breathing or personal mantra exercises, you can sneak in during the day’s activities.

2. Plan for whatever you can, but be flexible enough to adapt when things don’t exactly go right.

Planning gives structure and stability in hard times, but it needs to be combined with a level of flexibility when a plan inevitably has to change.

For example, you can plan for your family’s health by scheduling everyone’s preventive dental appointments ahead of time. You can plan the date and have an idea of how much the exam and cleaning will cost. But you can’t plan for a surprise cavity that needs to be filled. In this case, you can mitigate any financial trouble from such a surprise by keeping in mind what payment options are available (see Staley Dental financial options here).

3. Reach out to others and ask for help or a listening ear before you think you really need it.

Parents are used to being relied on, and that can make it tough to be the ones asking for help when we struggle. When you notice that your stress is rising, you’re ruminating on the same thoughts, or you’re just plain having a hard time, reach out to someone for help before you reach a breaking point.

Remind yourself of the power of simply speaking. Confiding in a fellow parent, friend, or your spouse can give you an outlet to verbally express your trapped thoughts. This in itself can leave you feeling refreshed and light, as if a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

4. Remember that online learning doesn’t mean you have to also wear the hat of a teacher.

Choosing to keep your kids home from in-person learning doesn’t mean you’re also taking on the responsibility of being their teacher.

The Boise school district is far better prepared for online learning this year, complete with more efficient communication and a thoughtfully planned curriculum. This doesn’t mean your kids won’t need supervision, but it does mean you can let go of the label of “teacher.” Your thoughts are your reality, and by switching from viewing yourself as a teacher to simply being your child’s helper, you can release the pressure of expecting more from yourself than you actually need to give.

5. Learn to speak to yourself with compassion by imagining what you’d say to a fellow parent friend.

On the subject of your thoughts and how they affect you, one very important thing to keep in mind is your internal voice. It’s so easy to speak to ourselves in a harsh manner, especially when something doesn’t meet our expectations or a plan goes awry.

A good way to fight this habit is to pretend you’re speaking to a fellow parent friend.

Imagine your friend had a bad day. Their kids couldn’t focus. They weren’t able to return work emails. And their house is a mess. They tell you how bad they feel, like they failed as a parent, spouse, or employee.

Would you say, “Wow. You really messed up,” or would you say something like, “I know you feel bad, but you did the best you could. Today was tough, but the good news is today is over and tomorrow is a new day to try again.”

Put your family’s dental care in the trustworthy hands of the Staley Dental team.

Dr. Staley and his team are right alongside you as fellow parents living in Boise. We’re experiencing many of the same wins along with many of the same, shall we say, “learning experiences.”

Our office is open, and we’d like to remind our patients that we’re ready to help you and your family with all your dental care needs. Even a simple dental exam and cleaning can be a great way to take a guilt-free break during a busy day.

To schedule an appointment for yourself, a family member, or even multiple kids, call our office or fill out our online booking form.