COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down. We may be working from home full-time while trying to balance the needs of our employers with the needs of our family.
We miss hugging our relatives and friends. If you're like me, you may also be trying to help your children through the frustrations of social distancing, canceled sports and graduation events, and the challenges of distance learning. While there are silver linings to being cooped up together (quality time, playing old school games, learning TikTok dances, etc.), there is also stress due to uncertainty and conflicts over expectations in this new normal. How do we get into a groove with our family and prevent potential conflicts along the way? I have a few tips:
Hold a family meeting immediately. Go around the room and talk about what is happening. Discuss what each of you need (examples: time to yourself, time to be uninterrupted on a call, etc.) and what each of you can do to support one another and maintain a calm household.
Just because you see each other all the time, don't assume you know how each other is doing. I recommend taking time out and ask "how are you doing with all this?" directly. You may be surprised at what you hear. I know I have been!
Set boundaries & stick to a routine. Communicate your needs for the day or craft a schedule so that your family members know what you have going on each day -- and ask them to do the same. Expectations cannot be met unless they are communicated. It is also important to remember that your school-age kids went from routine to chaos. If you establish a routine each day, your day will be more predictable which reduces anxiety in your children and decreases your chances for conflict.
Best wishes to you and your families and I hope to see us all mask-free and healthy in the near future. Stay safe and be well!
About the Author:
Erin Fisher is a certified mediator and founder of Atlantic Mediation Services, a serial entrepreneur, and consultant. She was recently named to the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association. She received an executive certification in negotiation and conflict resolution from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business and her undergraduate degree in communication from West Virginia University. Ms. Fisher was inspired by her own experiences in family mediation and works with private clients to identify and reconcile competing interests related to property distribution, custody plans, and visitation. Relying on nearly two decades supporting the Department of State, Ms. Fisher works with clients to establish peace in the workplace. She traveled extensively overseas and provided conflict resolution and mediation services related to contracts, employee dynamics, change management, and more by remaining open-minded, neutral, and unbiased to differences.