Well it’s nice to report that we’re finally making some headway on the pandemic front.
In fact it’s almost whiplash with some of the changes we’ve experienced in just the past few weeks: teens getting vaccinated, masking recommendations and group gatherings restrictions being eased, schools returning to full time in the fall. Hurrah!!
So are we ready to return to what once was? Hopefully so but it will take some adjustment. We were living with lots of rules and restrictions
and anxieties and those feelings don’t just disappear overnight. And I suspect we’ve all gotten into some bad habits and ruts.
And that’s what our summer theme is all about - getting back on track and maybe hitting the reset button. That can mean different things to different people. For us at Fredco, it can mean helping our families getting caught up on missed physicals, school forms and vaccinations (and hopefully more and more COVID shots!) On the family / home front, that can mean taking on the technology monster and correcting that imbalance between being outdoors and indoors, just to give a couple examples.
So the summer may be a great reset time for all of this as
we approach “more normal times” in the fall. But we also know this is more easily said than done. Changing habits is hard, especially when there has been some leniency and “comfort food” to ease those pandemic worries.
So here are some pointers, admittedly usurped from other parenting experts, that may point the way or give some encouragement:
Promote getting outside and make it fun!
Do it as a family and ask for suggestions to get buy-in. A hike might sound like work but a scavenger hunt could be cool. A picnic or ice cream reward at the end never hurts!
Be proactive. Talk as a family and do what works for you. Everyone gets (and deserves) input!
Be present. What does that mean? It means that nothing is more important than connecting and enjoying being with your family. This is important!
Change is hard! Negativity and oppositionality is also part of human nature. People (even kids) don’t like being told what to do. Validate negative feelings. Listen - that’s what connection is all about!
Be patient. We can’t change things overnight but we’ll get buy-in o
er time if we’re sincere, sensitive and committed.
And you know what else? It’s the right thing to do! We’ve all gone through and continue to process a difficult ordeal. It may have uncovered fissures in our coping mechanisms or set off some anxieties that we’re trying to overcome. We don’t always get chances for a reset. Mulligans are OK in putt-putt but they’re not a guarantee in life. This summer may be the time to start that reset. I want you to know that you’re not alone and I truly consider this a priority. Family well being and family mental health is critical to both our children’s emotional and physical well being. I’ll keep hammering this message home as we get back to the old normal, or new normal, or some normal - hopefully a happy and coping normal. Let’s do this!
-James P. Lee, MD