The COVID-19 pandemic doesn't simply manifest its damage physically, as the mental toll isn't a light one.
Particularly for parents, at home with their kids looking to continue their education as well as navigate them through these unique times of isolation and staying home with no organized activities. It can be challenging.
As such, MLSsoccer.com caught up with the San Jose Earthquakes sports psychologist Dr. Jerry Lynch for his professional thoughts and suggestions for parents during this time.
“This is a crisis, but this is also an opportunity," Lynch said.
Lynch, whose practice leans on spirituality as well as psychology, believes in the power of thought. One suggestion he has is to remind yourself what you're grateful for every morning.
"Parents need to reminded: What is the opportunity here?" Lynch said. "I want them to wake up in the morning, think about seven things they’re grateful for. Imagine that, a way to start the day. You imagine that feeling, breathe it into your heart, now go about your day. Make it a reflection of everything you’ve been given.
“With your kids at home, be aware," he added. "Be mindful, this is an opportunity to really, deeply connect with your kids. Mostly kids are at school, parents are working. Now we’re in a position where we’re forced to be with our kids. Let’s take advantage of that."
Spending time together in meaningful ways during the day is one way to use this situation to our advantage. Perhaps making a schedule for the kids will help, as well as bringing them into activities like cooking.
With homework to be done and games to be played, there's no shortage of options, even at home.
“Maybe set up a schedule with your kids," Lynch suggests. "Say, every morning between 9:00 and 10:30, we’re going to go for a walk. Or we’re going to play board games, or we'll do homework together. Maybe the kids can have a role in cooking dinner. It’s a challenge to think about it that way. Instead of thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ how about ‘wow, what an opportunity!’ This is not going to happen again. The only certainty we have is change. This will change.”
Practicing what he preaches, Lynch is relishing in the extra time he has with his own family.
“Now we’re in a position where we’re forced to be with our kids," Dr. Lynch said. "Let’s take advantage of that. I’m playing board games with my 30-year-old kids. These kids of mine, they’re out in the world and we go weeks, months and I don’t see them. I had children because I want to be with them, now I’m with them (more).”
Most importantly, he says, our situation isn't permanent.
One day, normal life and all its duties will resume. Parents will go back to work, kids will go back to school, sports and other activities. Quality time together at home will shrink.
“Everything changes," Dr. Lynch said. "I try to sow the seeds of hope and ask people to be audacious about this."