Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. Neither does living during a pandemic. When you put both together, it can be overwhelming. Try to keep your calm with these sanity-saving parenting tips:
1. Stick to a Routine
Routines help kids feel safe and secure, so you need to have a routine even when you stay at home. While you may need to be flexible at times, stick to a schedule for kids to wake up, eat, play, learn, and go to bed around the same time each day. This applies to older kids as well.
2. Talk About Fears & Anxiety
It’s normal for both adults and children to be scared and anxious during times like this. You just need to be open, honest and acknowledge everyone’s feelings. Answer kids’ questions honestly and simply. Don’t overwhelm them with details they don’t need to know, but let them know the basics.
3. Use Positive Discipline
Kids are may act out because they are also frustrated, bored, or anxious. How you discipline them is important. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using positive discipline to help deal with issues. This includes things like:
- Redirecting bad behavior
- Using time-outs
- Reinforcing good behaviors with attention and praise
- Using a system of rewards & privileges
- Knowing when not to respond
4. Limit Screen Time When Possible
It might be tempting to let kids be distracted by videos or games all day, especially when you are trying to get chores or work done. However, it’s important that you still limit screen time when you can. Follow the AAP’s recommendations on screen time and media habits.
5. Set Aside Special Time
You are going to be together a lot during the pandemic. You might think you are getting more than enough quality family time. However, not all the time you’ll be spending will be “quality.” Some days it is an accomplishment just to make it through the day, and that’s ok. But try to set aside a bit of a special time when you can. That includes time together as a family as well as one-on-one time with children.
6. Practice Self-Care
As a parent, your instinct is to prioritize caring for your kids. However, you should keep in mind that you need to care for yourself as well. Make sure you are practicing self-care so that you can better care for your family. In this case, self-care is simply doing the things you need to do to keep yourself healthy and sane. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, practicing good hygiene,
7. Take Turns
If you are co-parenting with someone who is also at home, take turns to avoid burnout. Some people prefer to take “shifts” of time where one parent is looking after the children while the other can be alone to work or rest. Or rotate who is in charge of certain activities.
8. Take A Breather
It might seem like you and your kids are on top of each other at all times when you’re staying at home. However, one of the biggest parenting tips you can take (regardless of the state of public health) is to find time to take a breather. Ask your partner to tag in so you can be still and quiet and recharge a bit. Or find something that you do anyway, like taking a shower, and take that time to practice mindfulness.
9. Evaluate Problems
If you feel overwhelmed and can’t take a step back, there are still ways to cope. Think about prioritizing things. When issues arise, the AAP recommends that you take a moment to ask yourself these three questions:
- Does this problem represent an immediate danger?
- Is this problem permanent?
- How will I feel about this problem tomorrow?
Answering these questions can help you figure out what actually needs your attention at the moment and what you can take care of later.
10. Stay Connected
Just because you are supposed to be staying at home most of the time and practicing social distancing doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from the outside world and the important people in your life. That goes for you as well as your kids. Make time to call or video chat with friends and family you don’t get to see in person.
The team at Carithers Pediatric Group is here to provide comprehensive care for your children at all stages of life. During this time, the safety of your family and our team members is of the utmost importance. Please read the Carithers Coronavirus Emergency Action Plan to stay up-to-date on our policies. If you have questions or want to make an appointment, call our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023.