Wow… all of us, as parents, are called to play so many roles right now. This global pandemic, which has forced all of us to retreat into our homes with those most precious to us, has created unique challenges for parents. Whether you are parenting kids with sensory processing disorder, ADHD, autism, or not, we are all struggling with emotional regulation right now. We are all craving CALM!!
As a wife, mom, occupational therapist, and Boston Sensory Solutions practice owner, I am pulled in so many directions all day long, too…. Calm is hard to come by when kids are barging into Zoom meetings to ask me what’s for lunch; I’m sharing limited work space with my husband; colleagues are looking to problem solve the new challenges of virtual work; families of kids with self-regulation challenges need support to figure out their new “normal”, and my least favorite of all… being the family webmaster who has to fix the Wi-Fi each time it goes down. I truly love all of these roles and responsibilities (minus family webmaster), but I am used to being able to attend to them separately, calmly…. Right now, as they all converge it’s a bit chaotic and overwhelming. You, too? It’s the same way for our kids who struggle with emotional regulation challenges in this world of less structure and predictability. They may not sound like it, but they crave calm, too!
It helps me and my family to create different chunks of space in each day, space where we are all together as a family, space where my kids and husband have their own individual activities to do while I focus on my work, space where we get to connect virtually with friends, family, and caregivers outside of our home. Our routine is certainly a work in progress, each day a bit different from the day before… but having individual activities that are meaningful to each one of us in the family helps us to find calm, get a break from climbing all over each other all the time, and then reconnect a bit later slightly more refreshed (and calmer, better regulated!) from the experience.
This blog is meant to be a place where you can find 5-6 activity ideas each week that may engage your child in different ways, so you too can find that calm.
Here are the activities we are sharing this week. They are all “occupational therapist-approved”!
Some activities you can set up to let your child do independently (or even with siblings), so you can get a break from the constancy of working and parenting simultaneously. Some activities will require hands on adult support, and you can calmly pass the activity handout to an adult in your home who may need a plan of what to do with the kids off of screens. Some activities will be great for sharing with friends or family members, all connecting by doing the same project together over Zoom or FaceTime. Go ahead and share the activities with others, too!
However you use the activities in this blog, I hope it brings you some comfort to know you are not alone…. We are all in our separate corners of the community, living similar struggles emotional regulation right now. When we can share resources, even virtually, we can stay connected and support calmness in each other through this tough time. Please email us at [email protected] to learn more about individual sessions for yourself, as parents struggling to re-invent the daily life of our family in your many roles OR to inquire about 1:1 virtual OT or SLP visits for your child, typically covered by your health plan at no cost to you.