Parenting during the Pandemic: How to Deal with Children at Home
The pandemic and the new normal aren’t just hard for adults, businesses, health care and governments. They are particularly difficult for children too!
Children don’t understand why their play dates were cancelled, why many of them cannot go to school yet, why they couldn’t attend their friends’ birthday parties, and why the family stopped going to public parks and playgrounds. Being holed up at home is not exactly the kind of year that children look forward to.
Can you think about your own childhood? The memories you treasure are the same memories that are not possible for us right now. They can’t hang out with their friends. They can’t play with them. Come to think of it, they couldn’t even get to enjoy the idea of going to school. It is an abnormal setup. Parents, however, are at the frontline of this ugly phenomenon. You need to step up and become the parent, teacher, playmate, and friend that your kids need.
Address Their Fears, Answer the Questions
Why should we wear masks when we go out? Why can’t we visit granny? Can’t I play outside with my friends? How about school? Your kids probably have a lot of questions about why certain things did not happen the past year. Did you promise to take them to Disneyland for their birthdays? They’re wondering why that did not push through, or why they’re attending virtual birthday parties instead.
Recognise that this is an unprecedented time in your children’s lives, too. Sure, you are stressed about your work and the household, but that may be nothing compared to what your kids are feeling. They do not understand it yet. That’s why you need to explain to them what’s happening, what the virus is, and how it is impacting everyone’s life. Be honest with them and explain the steps you are all taking to keep the family safe.
Establish a Safe and Healthy Routine
Just because there’s no school doesn’t mean your kids should be going past their bedtime. Establish a healthy routine by putting them to bed at the same time. You can invest in a breathable bamboo weighted blanket for better sleep. That will provide comfort and out them to sleep easily.
The pandemic threw off their routines but stick to what works for you. They should have wake-up routines (breakfast, shower, quiet play, and schoolwork), afternoon playtime, and family time in the evening. Making sure they follow a schedule will give structure to the chaos that surrounds them.
Be Patient With Disciplining Them
Everybody feels a certain level of stress because of the pandemic and the new normal. Your kids are feeling this, too, although they do not know how to describe the feeling. They have more energy than before since they could not play as much. They are bored with their schoolwork. The kids miss playing outside. They will likely act out, so try to reinforce positive discipline. Talk to them and manage their bad behaviour. If possible, use rewards and privileges to encourage good behavior and attitude.
Older children and teens may be extra irritable, too, since they could not go out and meet friends. They’re easier to handle since they can understand what the pandemic means. Talk to them patiently and encourage them to talk about their feelings.
Spend Time as a Family
Don’t forget that the most important activity for your kids right now is to spend time as a family. Eat dinner together. Play. Watch movies together. Read a book before bedtime. The family is the most important structure in the kids’ lives today. More than anything, the family as a unit should work hand-in-hand to make this time bearable for young children.
Take a Breather, Take Care of Yourself
It is important for your kids to become accustomed to the new normal. You have a big role to play in that regard. However, that does not mean that you should forget about yourself. You cannot give care and love if you don’t have them for yourself. So, take a breather. When the kids are asleep at night, soak yourself in the tub or have a steam shower. Do anything that will relax your tired muscles and calm your mind. It’s more important than ever to have the strength to power through another day with energetic kids.
Reach out to your paediatrician if you notice your kids are acting strange. It might be because they’re suffering from anxiety. You should know the signs. Managing stress at home is extra difficult these days but when you know what you’re watching out for, you become proactive and able to address the problems immediately.
*This is a collaborative post.