I have been inspired and impressed by the perseverance and effort of so many children, teens, and their parents during the Covid pandemic to complete this school year. I witnessed resiliency and sacrifice, loss, and connection. A focus on what is essential and letting go of what is not.
Take time to acknowledge all that you as a parent did to get here. Recognize all your child or teen did to finish the school year.
Take time to reflect on these accomplishments in the light of a global pandemic with all the challenges, uncertainty, disappointment, fears, and frustrations. While the circumstances, resources and impact were unique for each family, there were new demands and difficult decisions for everyone. Even when there was gratitude and appreciation for more time together as a family, the change in caregiving, learning, and work demands truly required adjustment and flexibility at a whole new level.
As summer approaches, try to look back at the past year with compassion. Have compassion for yourself, your child or teen, their teachers, your family and friends.
Celebrate successes with a big picture perspective that also sees what it took each day to finish.
The standards might be different than in the past. Maybe it was a major academic accomplishment, courage demonstrated, relationships cherished, or moments that were enjoyed. Maybe it was getting “just enough” done each day to keep moving forward.
Allow space and time to adjust and return to previous life activities. Let yourself feel the positive and the negative from the past year. Acknowledge and accept disappointments. Be grateful for what was enjoyed and gained. Do a regular “self-check” to bring awareness to your own feelings and needs and model this self-care. Pay attention to the effects of chronic stress that might be felt more now as the school year ends and academic demands decrease.
Finally, recognize the good, the positive moments and good enough accomplishments without minimizing the impact of true grief or loss, trauma, or hardship. If there was loss, be aware of what is needed to grieve and be particularly mindful during anniversaries. Please seek support if you or your child are struggling with loss, having difficulty managing anxiety or depression, or if you could benefit from using more effective or healthier coping strategies.