“How do I decide who my children can see in person? Where to go? When? What is the rule? (Parents of 2)
With parenting comes decisions of nursing, sleeping habits, food choices, what toys to bring into the home, when to leave your baby with a sitter…and then do you use technology, the best school, the right club… The decisions are endless. With the pandemic, not only have we had to conform to new rules and new worries, we are now having to make yet another decision about our children’s safety, and our own family choices for the next steps into this new normal.
When Betty’s family came to me for support, I felt this topic was relevant to us all. Fortunately, in our sessions, we had been working on decision making. When Betty’s son wanted his own iPad and then he got one, we explored how to create a family contract, how to make agreements and deciding the “why” of what was being created. The emphasis was on meaningful reasons and logical consequences. Additionally, supporting Betty’s family to provide independence, respect and opportunities to each other.
With all decisions, I always find ways to take words and put them into action. So for the initial week of using technology, the agreement was “what you watch, you try to embody.” If the child watched playdoh making, he would then have to take out playdoh during that day and try on what he had watched. This embodied practice allowed for appropriate monitoring of content. He wouldn’t be watching someone hurting someone or being dangerous as that would not be something he would do in real life. The family was able to explore all their options and see how many wonderful choices of positive learning were available. Not surprisingly, Betty’s son preferred the action part of the experience more than watching it.
Again, when faced with the decision of how to move into reopening parks and playdates, Betty is faced with a new parenting challenge. Collaboratively, I provide a space to identify what Betty needs in order to feel safe (organized, calm, alert). We identify what worked when the homeschooling started. Betty, used a schedule, she set up time with her family to discuss what they all felt was best, and she set up time to edit and build on what they were doing. Betty, communicated that having space and time to slow down and plan each week, and permission to check in – really helped. For her family, connecting on what they wanted was important and moreso, connecting on what was working felt even better.
So now, Betty and her family are moving into the embodied practices we have done from the beginning. In sessions, we talk but we also play. Betty follows movement based activities to take on leadership – she has her kids follow her words and notice cues from her facial expressions and gestures. For instance her littlest daughter had to notice if mommy was being serious or silly. Next her kids, take turns practicing using their own bodies to read one another’s messages. This looks like movement charades. Best of all, her family really listens, observes and responds to one another.
While more decisions will continue to unfold for her family. They now know they can return to what is working and check in both mentally and physically with one another throughout the upcoming changes and decisions.
Everyday, I work with children of all ages and their families to support their communication styles, movement choices, and beautiful connections! During this Pandemic, therapeutic support and resources are available! For more ways to learn how to embody parenting and support your child through life, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.