NDSU Extension - Morton County


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April 13, 2020 How Are You Doing?

Jacey Wanner, Parent Educator, Region 7



April 16: Cover Crop Webinar 11am

April 16: Spring Fever Garden Forum 6:30pm

April 17: Ag Economics Response to COVID-19 12:30pm

April 20: 4-H Market and Dairy Goat Virtual Showmanship Clinic at 6:30pm

April 23 - Turning 65-Medicare Basics online class-Call 667-3340 to register


How Are You Doing?

During this period of social distancing, my husband and I are thankful that we are able to work from home with our 2-year-old daughter.

During one of our first days home, my husband was reading articles about social distancing and I was getting overwhelmed by what that meant for us as a family. All of a sudden my 2-year-old yells, “Daddy, stop talking about social distancing! That makes my Mommy sad!”

We stopped talking and were stopped in our tracks by her direct words. Then we started fumbling through explaining the importance of social distancing, even if it makes us sad to miss events that we were looking forward to attending.

Now, when she asks to go to the library or the swimming pool, we remind her that we don’t want any more people to get sick, so the safest place to be is playing at home.

A frequent question in our house is: “How are you doing?” with everything going on in the world. We have found the answers vary from scared, to thankful, to overwhelmed, to despair, to hopeful, to anxious to peaceful. So I ask you, at this moment, how are you doing?

As the parent family educator, my heart goes out to all of the families who feel they are doing the social distancing wrong, who feel like they have to prove themselves as the caregivers of the year, who have given up wanting to try to keep up with their chores and helping their kids with their school work.

Parenting is hard, period, and then throw a global pandemic in the mix and you have a lot of people trying to tell you the “right way” to handle this time. The internet is full of suggestions on how to structure your work from home and balance being a full-time parent, how to inspire your kids to do their school work, how to connect with friends regularly, how to start a new hobby, how to make sure you make the most out of this time with your kids.

Don’t get me wrong. These are all incredibly needed resources and very helpful when the need arises, but in excess, they can be just as exhausting as having the TV turned to COVID-19 news updates all day.

I am going to ask you to reflect on your family life right now, not your neighbors or that friend on Facebook. How is life for your family at this moment?

What is going well for your family? What gives your family life? What is a way that you are able to connect with your family the best? Own it.

Does going on a family walk give everyone a chance to move their bodies and get out of their house for awhile? Notice the birds, breathe in fresh air.

How about family movie night, when everyone can snuggle in and feel safe while laughing at a family favorite? You know your family best and what is most beneficial for your family may look different than what another family is doing.

What is something that isn’t going well for your family that you have the ability to change? (Note: This can’t be the fact that you wish your kids were all in school and your family can go back to regular life.)

Can you add more or less structure to your day? Can you all do a 10-minute speed clean-up of the house because everyone’s “stuff” is causing stress? Can you designate areas in your home for everyone to have an hour of alone time where family members aren’t arguing? Find something that you can change to make your home life more calm.

Have you checked in with yourself and your kids through this time to see how everyone is doing? Setting aside time every week for a family meeting can allow everyone to share what is in their heart. Some good questions are: What scares you about the pandemic and the social distancing? What don’t you like about this time? What has been a surprise blessing? What do you need to get through this time? Let your kids share their fears and their struggles with you, and also let them know what is hard for you.

Give yourself the room to breathe, to take the extra walk around the block, to snuggle a little bit longer with the 2-year old, and yes, to even have the privilege of being bored. Step aside from the news updates and just be there with your family -in the frustration and the fun.

If you need help with parenting through this time, I always am willing to listen. You can reach me through North Dakota State University Extension’s Morton County office at 701-667-3342.





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