The new year and new school term have started and families are adjusting to new schedules, curricula, schoolmates, school environments and expectations.
Having to study, work and live in a new normal also add challenges to our daily lives as local and global situations evolve unpredictably.
How can we encourage our family, our children and even ourselves to take each day in stride and to be a better version of ourselves every day despite the challenges we face?
Here are some tips that have worked for me.
1. Structure daily routines to be flexible with buffer time
Life is already so stressful; there is no need to push yourself to fill every minute of your day with ‘busyness’. Give your family some breathing space by having buffer time in between activities to rest and recharge.
➡️ Related Read: Importance Of Having Routine For Children
Having some time (around 20%) for white space as free play, even for yourself, can be comforting as we can take a break from the rat race. We can do the things we normally wouldn’t have time for such as listening to music, playing board games or taking a random walk to somewhere new.
At the same time, be careful to spend your time wisely on things that help you and your family grow.
2. It’s okay to make mistakes
It is totally normal to make mistakes especially when learning something new or encountering a new situation. However, the fear of failing or making a mistake can make us discouraged and depressed.
As parents, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much if we make an innocent mistake as these mistakes are opportunities for us to learn.
Our children are watching and learning from us and how we respond to our mistakes will influence their future behaviour.
I’ve printed graphics for my boys to paste on their walls to remind them it’s okay to make mistakes as this is how they learn and grow.
You can download the free printable here.
➡️ Related Read: How Strider Kids Coaching Builds Up Your Child’s Confidence and Resilience
3. In helping others, you help yourself
We do not need to be a position of absolute strength to help others. During this pandemic, there are many instances of people taking time to help others in their own little way, even though they may be struggling themselves.
Being able to help others doesn’t mean you need to dedicate a huge chunk of time.
There are micro-volunteering platforms such as Be Kind SG where you can try ad-hoc volunteering based on your availability and comfort level. Be Kind SG also offers volunteering activities which may be suitable for your kids such as making cards, writing appreciation notes and creating customised colouring sheets.
➡️ Related Read: Where To Volunteer With Kids In Singapore
4. Surround yourself with positivity
Just like your physical diet depends on what you eat, your emotional diet depends on what you watch, listen to, read and who you hang out with.
Toxic people and even social media groups can drain you of energy and the ability to love yourself. On a regular basis, curate who and what you surround yourself with. With more space in your life, you can bring in what motivates you to be a better person.
Keeping a journal where you note down what you are grateful for, and the little acts of love you have shown others will sow the seeds of peace and hope in your heart. Be the role model you want your kids to follow.
5. Set mini-goals to stay on track
You could be busy the whole year but yet feel like you have not accomplished anything. Setting yearly goals and mini-goals each month can keep you on track to what you hope to achieve by the end of the year.
Mini goals should not be lofty or impossible to achieve, but something important that you would really like to do. It could be incorporating a new habit into your life, learning a new skill or finally getting around to that really important task that you have been procrastinating on (like financial planning, drawing up your will, decluttering or calling a loved one).
For kids, they may want to visit a specific place or try a new activity, but do not know how to do so. Goal-setting teaches them how to articulate their goals, plan for them and execute their plans which are important life skills.
I hope you will find the tools and support you and your family need to thrive and emerge stronger day by day.
By Julia Chan.
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