You are simultaneously attending a Zoom meeting, eyeing your toddler as he climbs the furniture, checking on your school-aged child who’s homeschooling on a laptop, all while trying not to burn dinner in the oven. Sound familiar?
Being a parent is one of the most rewarding roles we can have. It’s also one of the most challenging! As parents, we are resilient, creative multitaskers. But the changes brought on by the global Covid-19 pandemic have been enough to throw any capable parent for a loop. You’ve likely heard the term, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, and it.is.true. Right now, parents are serving their “normal” roles along with some new ones – including educator (for those who have children participating in e-learning) and work-from-home employee. Because our kids rely on us for so much, it’s more important than ever to focus on how we can manage the changes and additional responsibilities brought on by the current health crisis.
Follow these tips for overcoming these new stressors. Supermoms and dads – We’ve got this!
Communication is Key
To keep a calm, positive home environment, it’s important to communicate with your children about the Coronavirus.
Keep it simple. Younger children may not be at daycare or might need to follow some new rules there like social distancing and wearing a mask. Keep your language simple and positive! Let them know that doing things like washing our hands often keeps germs off and keeps us healthy.
If your kids are school-aged, find a time when you’re alone (such as before bed) to start a conversation about the changes they’re having to go through. Instead of asking your child too many questions, get them going by talking about your own feelings.
Routine, routine, routine
In a world where things seem to be constantly changing and the future is unpredictable, it can make you and your family feel calmer and more secure if a general routine is put in place. This can be written on a chalkboard or whiteboard and posted somewhere central in the house. You can even program your home device like the Amazon Alexa to let you know when an activity is “scheduled”.
Setting limits like turning on a timer for screen time can help reduce battles with your child about turning off the tablets and TV when they are at home most of the day. Show them the schedule and use simple language terms “first” and “then” to help your child know what is expected and what is coming next in their day (“first tablet, then outside time”, for example).
Fill your cup!
Take time for yourself and to do what makes you happy. This can be more challenging as you might be avoiding certain places like gyms and restaurants. But, it is still doable! Try waking up an hour before your children. Use that time to exercise, listen to a podcast, or even sit outside while you enjoy a cup of coffee. Connect with other parents and friends over Zoom meetings or socially distant walks. And finally, try to stay positive and see the good in all of these challenges and changes – more family time, opportunities to connect with and teach your children, and an appreciation for the outdoors and simple things like family dinners and walks around the neighborhood!