Many parents have spent the last 10 months in a near-constant state of fear and anxiety as they make life-changing decisions and struggle to balance their families' physical and mental health with virtual schooling, childcare needs, possible unemployment, and more.
And somewhere in the chaos lies the daunting task of leading their children through the traumas of the pandemic, protests, the absence of teachers and friends, an economic depression, election season, and insurrection.
In October 2020, the ACE Awareness Foundation launched "Parenting in the Pandemic: Tools for Surviving and Thriving".
The series of virtual workshops and quick-tip videos was aimed at giving parents a safe place to talk and de-stress, get guidance and support for difficult topics, and learn tips for helping themselves and their kids.
The "Mindfulness Moments" videos range from 30 to 60 seconds. Watch them here:
"Serve and Return": https://vimeo.com/496450272
"Take a Minute": https://vimeo.com/496450315
"Start Your Virtual Day": https://vimeo.com/496450356
"Speak Positivity": https://vimeo.com/496450287
"Words Matter": https://vimeo.com/496450339
"Parents are Real Heroes": https://vimeo.com/496450278
"We wanted people to realize that all of us have the ability to achieve mindfulness—the ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us—but that practicing mindfulness can be difficult when there's so much happening around us that keeps us from focusing on the here and now," said Renee Wilson-Simmons, executive director of ACE Awareness Foundation.
The "Parenting in the Pandemic" virtual workshops had over 2,700 viewers collectively and included topics like self-care, family yoga time, breathwork, mindfulness, staying calm in the chaos, and healthy coping strategies.
ACE Awareness partnered with local firm Forever Ready Productions
to produce the "Mindfulness Moments" videos. Seven videos offer tips for communicating with children of all ages, starting the day off right, showing affection, and more.
"I’ve learned first hand that parenting in a pandemic is hard. When ACE Awareness contacted us to work on this project, I immediately felt a connection and desire to work on the project," said Lauren Ready, owner and principal storyteller with Forever Ready Productions.
"These brief moments are meant to remind people that it's important -- and possible -- to take time to pay attention to where they are, what’s going on, and what they can do to become more aware of their body, their thoughts, and their actions in order to lead less stressful lives during a time when it’s challenging to do so," said Wilson-Simmons.
Ready said the biggest challenge in producing the series was COVID-19.
"Shooting video inside houses was difficult and unsafe at the peak of the virus in November and December. As a result, we used more existing footage, stock footage, and graphics to tell these stories. And we leaned heavily on the experience and advice of the ACE Awareness staff to write scripts that spoke to all kinds of parents. A universal message to reach people, no matter their circumstance," she said.
"In the end, I hope these spots serve as a reminder to all parents. We’ve got this! We’ll get through it. And we are not alone in our struggles," she added.