For many families that are quarantined together right now, it may not feel like all fun and board games on the daily. Some parents are dealing with financial stress with one or more unemployed; single parents are feeling overwhelmed now more than ever; and some moms and dads are desperately trying to juggle more than one role, as they struggle to work from a full house, and try to homeschool their kids.
CNN reported that it is now more important than ever to try and focus on creating positive experiences for your kiddos during one of the most uncertain times throughout the world’s history. The last thing any parents want to do is create mental and emotional wounds for our kiddos, as they are struggling just as much as we are.
Below are some tips on how to deal with stress during this pandemic, while not taking it out on your children.
Talk: If you find a conflict emerging, open some dialogue between you and your child, regardless of their age. First, listen to their point of view without judgement. Allow them to talk about what’s on their mind, their fears, and address the reason behind why things are getting cancelled; why they can’t go to school and see friends; why social distancing is so important right now; and why everything might feel like it is taking so long to getting back to normal.
Address Concerns: Older children may start to see the news and worry about what is going on in the world. It’s important to talk things through with your children, and let them know how everyone across the globe is working together to help address this virus. It’s okay to reassure them that while things may be hard now, things will get better. Develops are occurring daily, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Your Situation: It’s also okay to relay your point of view, and talk about any challenges you may be facing (i.e. how hard it is to work from home when the house is full). Discuss ways to navigate through this weird time where everyone is at home. Perhaps there is a schedule you and your kids can create to help manage time better (between work and home schooling), or a chores chart where the kids can pitch in. A full house can equal out to full-house mess, which can also add to stress.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself: Remember that it is a challenge to be off schedule right now. If you are working from home – juggling parenthood and work demands can be hard, so be kind to yourself. If you need to turn on the television or even increase tablet times to get work done (or to get a break from the kids and a moment to yourself), it is totally fine to do so.
Keep Connected: Now more than ever, it’s important to stay connected with family and friends. This goes for your child’s circle too! Try and take times throughout the day to call or video call friends, family, and loved ones. Encourage your child to do so as well, and help them reach out to their friends for a little social distancing fun.
You May Still Feel Stressed: It’s inevitable. Between the bombardment of bad news, to social media going crazy, to everyone in your household being together 24/7, to the bills piling up; you will still feel stressed. Just take a deep breath and try to remember that yelling or screaming at your child won’t solve anything. Head outside in the backyard for a breather; lock yourself in a closet for some alone time; head into the bathroom with your smartphone and play a video game; reach out and video call a friend or family member. Do whatever it takes to help the moment pass, and it will. If you feel like you are spiraling past stress and into depression or anxiety, contact your family doctor for further advice and recommendations.