One day, our kids will look back on 2020, knowing that they lived through a global pandemic, but not quite remembering the details. Maybe, like my toddler, they’re too young to recall anything at all in decades. Others, like my first grader, will remember school being interrupted and life changing.
When the pandemic makes it into the history books, there will be a lot of grim news: the millions of people who died; the families who went months without seeing each other; the parents who lost jobs.
What the official narrative probably won’t cover is the little ways that the pandemic changed life for the better: the chance that it gave all of us to slow down and figure out how to coexist when we’re all stuck at home. Here are the 5 things I want my kids to think about when they look back on the pandemic:
We Spent Way More Time Outside
Even before the pandemic, my family was outdoorsy. Since we live in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire, there’s no many options for indoor entertainment. In that way, our normal life didn’t change too much when COVID hit. But even we started spending more time than ever outside. We expanded our repertoire of activities from hiking and swimming to biking and blading. My six-year-old is now a whiz on a bike, having ditched the training wheels early in the pandemic. After that she moved onto rollerblading, thrilling with my inner 90s child. Even my 2-year-old zips around on her tricycle, desperate to keep up with her sister. The pandemic has helped switch their mindset from “do we really need to go outside?” to “please can we go riding?” That’s a change that I hope lasts a long time!
We’ve Been Reading More
For my own sanity, I’ve had to limit my internet use this year, when the news cycle can feel even more overwhelming than normal. That’s meant that rather than mindlessly scrolling on my phone, I’ve been reading novels. This has happened at the perfect time for my older daughter, who is just beginning to read. Seeing me pick up my book, she’s more apt to grab hers, and even the toddler has been known to quietly leaf through the pages of a book in the evening.
We’re Intentional About Connecting
This year any social interactions have taken way more planning than they normally would. Surprisingly, that’s worked in our benefit. We’ve been intentionally about setting up times to talk with our family abroad and our local friends. Rather than saying “let’s catch up sometime,” we make concrete plans, nurturing the relationships that are important to us even when we can’t be together in person.
We’re Rocking Family Time
If you had told me a year ago that both my kids and my husband would be home full-time for the foreseeable future, I probably would have booked myself a one-way ticket to somewhere far away. But with little warning, I was immersed in more family time than I ever knew I wanted. And to my shock, it’s been awesome. We’ve done lots of fun things, but also learned how to just be around each other calmly: tucked in reading, working on separate projects around the house, or cozied up with a movie together.
We Got Through
Now that we’ve lived with the coronavirus for months, it feel like just a part of life. It’s becoming normalized, which makes it easy to forget the deep fear in those early days and weeks. When my daughters look back on this year, I want them to see that we, all of us, were able to get through, to do our best in a scary situation and work to keep the people we love safe.
What do you want your kids to remember about this year? Tell us here!
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