Parenting During the Pandemic
With the pandemic presenting new challenges for families everyday, it’s easy to feel varying levels of stress and anxiety. However, there are small ways for parents to make everyday a little easier and strengthen their familial bonds. While much has been written about adapting to the new circumstances in a work setting, it is important to acknowledge that innovation needs to take place at home as well. Mind You has prepared a quick parenting guide to get you started.
Maintain healthy habits
Structure your day and consider the following:
- Meal and snack times
- Physical activity
- Recreational activities/social interactions with friends and family online
- Wake-up and bedtimes
By doing this sooner rather than later, this also helps you plan out your day and helps you visualise what to expect every hour.
Be emotionally present
Your children depend on you for emotional and physical safety. Address their fears by acknowledging the present circumstances, but remember to remain gentle and hopeful. Divert attention away from panic by providing actionable steps, such as teaching them how to wash their hands, and the importance of personal protective equipment and social distancing.
Set the example on how to manage feelings
You are your child’s guiding light. Talk them through your own thoughts and feelings and how you are planning to manage them. For instance, you can say, “I am also worried about your titas and titos, but I will continue to check on them until it is safe to visit them. I will schedule weekly phone calls and send them food every Sunday.” You can also allocate an hour per week for ‘circle time’ – an opportunity for the family to gather together and express their worries, fears and hopes. It is important to maintain a sense of unity and solidarity during this period of isolation.
Ask them guiding questions
For example, when they express frustration over not being able to see their friends, you can ask: “I understand that it’s been difficult for you and your friends that you cannot see each other in person. What are some other fun and safe activities you can do together?” Asking open-ended questions like this can help your child work through their frustration because it forces them to come up with ideas to resolve their dilemma.
Stay in touch with loved ones
A reason for your child’s anxiety may be that they are worried about your family members. If socially distant visits are not possible, you can always schedule video chats with your relatives.
Implement a new privileges & rewards system
Get creative with new ways to help reinforce good behaviour. For instance, schedule 1 or 2 hours at night as your own self-care time, and assign the chore, “take care of my siblings” to one of your older children for the same time slot. If things go well, you will feel recharged, your older child will be rewarded, and your younger children will have had the opportunity to bond with their sibling. Three birds with one stone!
Find a silver lining
The quarantine protocols have meant more time together as a family – potentially, something that was lacking in your busy routines pre-pandemic. Thus, take this time to come up with creative ways to bond. You can roleplay books, complete with costumes and sound effects to elevate the storytelling experience. You can set some time aside to paint together, letting your children express their fears, anxieties or excitement about the future through shapes and colours. For older kids, you can start a cooking class together or find a workout that the whole family enjoys.
HealthyChildren.org. 2021. Parenting in a Pandemic: Tips to Keep the Calm at Home. [online] Available at: <https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Parenting-in-a-Pandemic.aspx>