What the Pandemic Taught Us About Parenting

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This past year put everyone up to a serious challenge. We were forced to revamp our routines, adapt to an entirely new norm and — for parents in particular — deal with a full house from dawn to dusk. And while 2020 was nothing short of demanding, we’re incredibly grateful for the joyful moments amid what has been a steady thrum of chaos. So, we turned to the parents of SBP to learn just how they’ve handled nurturing their little ones in a pandemic and why this time has both literally and ironically brought them closer together. All of their stories, below.

David Berg

With three boys at home, you’d expect the Berg household to be moving a million miles a minute — but this past year has been nothing short of meaningful for SBP Founding Partner David Berg. For David, the first step to success has been limiting screen time and only allowing the little ones to watch TV on the weekends. And the second, most important course of action? Getting them outdoors. “When school started at home, we started spending lots of time outside before school and during recess,” David shared. “Other kids from the block would join, and the parents would stand in the street to watch for traffic. It felt like life when I was growing up.” And whatever activity the kids are engaging in that day, David highly suggests joining in on the fun. “If your kids like riding bikes, hop on a bike and go with them,” he said. “I love being part of their experiences — it has brought us so much closer together.”

F. Ron Smith

Sure, Founding Partner F. Ron‘s kids (including our very own Brandon Smith!) are living their best lives out of the Smith household, but that doesn’t make it any less crucial to nurture incredible relationships with them — particularly during such an unprecedented and isolating time like 2020. “Communication and personal interaction are becoming a lost art form,” F. Ron Shared. “The first step in connecting with family is going outside and letting your technology rest on the couch.” And the importance of this has grown twofold as a result of the pandemic. “There’s no contract that obligates your child to engage with you after they leave home,” he said. “Invest time with them and show you care early and often for long-term emotional dividends.”

Trevor Edmond

For Associate Partner Trevor Edmond, parenting in a pandemic has been all about protecting his daughters from the slippery slope into an all-consuming digital life and piquing their curiosity for nature. “I call this screen time versus green time,” Trevor shared. So instead of putting the kiddos in front of the TV, he’s encouraging them to experience the natural world that lies beyond. “Freedom to roam is a must in the development of healthy children,” he said. “Striking a healthy balance between the two has been my primary goal as a parent over the past year.” But at the end of the day, your little ones’ happiness really depends on your own. “It’s difficult to be an effective parent if you’re stressed out and exhausted all the time. By practicing self-care, I have the energy to tackle my kids’ day or behavior and feel empowered to apply new parenting tools consistently.”

Courtney Welsh

Making the most of the cards she’s been dealt has been the name of the game for Director of Operations Courtney Welsh over the last year. During the early days when both parks and beaches were closed, Courtney had to get clever with her three-and-a-half-year-old at home. “We live in a small apartment so it was incredibly challenging at first,” she shared. “We bought a soccer ball, hula hoops, sidewalk chalk and bubbles, and found an abandoned field nearby where she could simply breathe and run.” Because for Courtney, it’s all about getting her daughter to experience the unbridled joy and growth from free play. “I envy the endless ideas she comes up with, and I’ll do whatever I can to foster that.” But at the end of the day, it all boils down to a consistent routine that helps them stay organized and sane. “I often find her correcting me if I switch up the order of things,” Courtney said. “This tells me she not only relies on it but thrives on it.”

Rick Torres

With older kids at home, Associate Partner Rick Torres has faced one of the greater challenges of staving off an obsession with technology — which is no easy feat for the parents of young adults. And the best way to do this? By opting outside as a family. “I find it incredibly important to head into the outdoors and enjoy what our beautiful world has to offer,” Rick shared. “Whether going for a hike, walking on the beach or going for a swim, I’ve always encouraged my kids to be active.” But for Rick, it’s really all about fostering a sense of balance in their lives. “Life is so precious,” he said. “Before you know it, they’re leaving for college.” So his advice? Don’t let these years pass you by — embrace every second together.

Nathan Stadler

With two little ones at home, Associate Partner Nathan Stadler knows a thing or two about parenting in a pandemic. With so much accessible at the tips of our fingers these days, Nate finds it incredibly important to keep his kids — and himself — in check. “I think we need to remind our kids (and ourselves) that certain things in life need to be experienced,” he shared. “The outdoors provides so much perspective.” Over the last year, Nate has embraced family hikes, long beach days and even laying in the backyard to watch the clouds pass by beside his kiddos. And above all, Nate has committed to being honest with his little ones along the way. “Don’t be afraid to explain to your kids what’s going on in the world,” he said. “They intuitively know when life is complex, and explaining it to them in terms they understand undoubtedly provides comfort.”

Any tips and tricks that have gotten you through the pandemic? We’d love to know — shoot us an email at team@smithandberg.com and let’s talk all things parenting.

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