Thankfully we are highly adaptable creatures. In remarkable time, parents were able to find ways to help maintain some sanity and prioritize their childrens’ mental health and well-being. Parents are now learning to open themselves up and show vulnerability. And with that, they have also been able to develop more empathy and understanding.
“I definitely see parents being more sensitive, patient, and adaptable. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to connect with their children, regardless of age, and I’ve yet to speak to a parent who hasn’t appreciated this,” says Reva McPollom, an education expert, CEO and founder of Lessonbee, agrees. “As someone who felt very isolated at school and home growing up, this is absolutely a trend that I will continue.”
Another area that many of us, parents or not, found was a vital step towards normalcy was creating what we’ve all started calling a “COVID bubble.” Having a small group of like-minded folk who you can safely socialize with has been a mental health savor. So much so that even scientific institutions created guided instructions on how to mindfully build your bubble, like this one from the researchers at MIT Medical.
For example, if one priority is making sure your kids are able to remain physically active in some way, perhaps you’ll form connections with parents who are encouraging outdoor yoga playdates at the park. If you want to raise a socially conscious kid, you’ll want to find parents who are as equally dedicated to giving back to the community.
“All the research on social contagion supports the notion that we are significantly more likely to be supported to make healthy choices and uplifting lifestyle shifts if we are with people who are doing the same,” says Lyons. “This is not an approach that creates exclusivity, rather it is one that has the potential to foster greater creativity and tolerance for a broader spectrum of difference and choices.”
McPollom agrees: “While the pandemic exposed harsh injustices, in homogeneous communities it also leveled the parenting playing field. It became pretty clear, pretty quickly, no one knows better than anyone else what they’re doing. But, many parents have been able to move from anxious and fearful to calm and resourceful.”