Staying warm and close in our families during the holidays

13 April 2020

Social distancing laws will encourage us to examine what creates warmth and connection in our lives. There is no question regarding the link between warmth and immunity but emotional warmth may now also be a factor to be considered. As we approach the Easter holidays our attention will no doubt turn to how we can create warmth and connection in our homes.

Strong family rhythms are the ‘glue’ that holds our families together. Bed time is a good place to start so that everyone stays in synchronicity with each other. I recommend for now that your children keep their regular bedtimes throughout the holidays, parents also need to model strong bedtime rhythms. I recommend having at least a ten-hour period where the phone is on ‘do not disturb’ so that you have an hour away from screens before bed to keep your natural body rhythms intact (of course this also applies to children and teenagers). Also it is good to have an hour of ‘quiet time’ in the morning before the phones start to ring (or beep).

Keep mealtimes regular and connected with everyone sitting down together (no phones). Make them as ritualistic as possible so that they have an obvious beginning and end, this will help to keep everyone present physically and emotionally. Try to engage in conversation about how everyone is going and what things you are all finding different/difficult and what you are enjoying about this strange time.

Bringing love and goodness into the home life and a sense that ‘we are all in this together’, trying to help each other, will also warm the atmosphere of the home. Encourage children to help with family chores, creating beauty, order and cleanliness in the house - keep this high on the list of priorities by modelling it yourself. Creating the home as a pleasing space says that you all matter as a family and that you are all caring for yourselves and each other.

Children can be instructed (not asked but told) to make a daily call to the grandparents or someone who lives on their own to see how they are. This will help children with gratitude and expansion rather than shrinking into self-obsession and entitlement.

Be aware of not letting screen time get out of control. The usual restrictions (from the ‘old’ life) should still apply as we need plenty of time without screens to create the emotional warmth of just being together connected as physical beings in our home environment.

Finally, try not to worry about your children getting ‘down’ or bored. That is a natural reaction to the times we are in and it is always tempting as parents to try to ‘fix’ it with a ‘good idea’, a chocolate or some extra television time. Just being there as a warm and loving presence is the best remedy. Good luck and Happy Easter!

Mary Heard
Simplicity Parenting