The COVID pandemic has affected everything. That is probably the phrase most used during the last 10 months or so. It is getting annoying at this point, but it is true nonetheless. The same applied to parenting. The most intimate and valuable thing inside the family has now been changed. Not because we changed, but because the world did. In this blog, we discuss parenting during COVID 19 pandemic.
Parenting has always been challenging, add a pandemic in the mix and things become hardcore. At the same time it feels like we are nearing the end of the pandemic… Are we though?
The Express, a British tabloid newspaper, recently published an article listing some of the countries starting 2021 with yet another lockdown.
Some among these countries being: all of the UK, Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, Israel and Austria. Now although most of these countries are European, it just goes to show that we aren’t done with the Covid crisis yet.
By no means is this a tactic to make you feel afraid. We are inching ever so closely to the end. However, until then, there is still some time left.
Parenting during Covid has been challenging because of our lack of experience with such things. Now that we’ve spent enough time like this, we have enough data to make some preliminary conclusions on what are the best techniques of parenting during Covid.
We have decided to share the advice of two well known and trusted organizations – The UNICEF and The American Academy of Pediatrics.
Tips for Parenting During Covid from the UNICEF
UNICEF published a brochure regarding parenting during Covid. In this brochure, the experts open up by trying to see the positive. School lockdowns and general lockdowns might give us a great opportunity to form and mend our family relationship.
With that in mind, let’s view some of their recommendations for parenting during Covid.
Spending quality time together:
Sticking to the idea of using the pandemic as a chance of improving relationships, UNICEF forces the importance of quality time. They recommend that you have one-on-one sessions with each of your children. It can be a short session of talking, even just 20 minutes or so.
The point here is to create a time and place when you can just talk with and listen to each other.
Try being understanding and allow your children to tell you how they feel. It doesn’t even have to be simple conversations. Maybe, you can incorporate different things such as singing, reading books, or even watching old photographs together.
Don’t allow yourself to get too carried away though. The main point here is to make your child feel heard. Attention to what they say is very important.
Parenting during Covid is going to be challenging, however this can enable you to turn things around. Ask you children what they want to do. By doing this you help them form a higher self-esteem.
This is one of the main reasons why UNICEF recommends spending time together. Not only will you children feel secured, heard, and loved, it will also help them in different ‘non-Covid’ things such as confidence and personality.
Positivity is key:
Make it so that the only negative thing in your households are the Coronavirus tests. Cheek and tongue one-liners aside, it is tremendously important to keep a happy and positive attitude in the house.
The world out there is very strange right now, but here, we will be safe and sound.
UNICEF suggests that you even change the way you talk to your children. A positive vocabulary is highly recommended. For example: “Don’t be loud!” becomes: “Could you please keep a bit more quiet? Thank you.” or, “Stop that!” becomes: “How about we take a break from that, and do something else instead?”
These subtle and small changes can make a huge difference in how your children feel and how effective your parenting is.
Yes, parenting during Covid is hard. Trying to keep an all time positive attitude can be twice as challenging. That is true. To make things easier for you, be communicative. Again, use a positive and reassuring tone.
Try to clearly communicate to your children what you want them to do, and what you don’t want. By having these specific boundaries set from the very beginning, it will be easier to manage things down the way…
Proper management and honesty:
First of all, understand that you aren’t alone. Parenting during Covid is hard and you just want to go out there. You’re not the only person who has to do parenting during Covid.
There are so many families going through the same thing. Just by realizing this fact, it can help put things into perspective.
One of the main downfalls of lockdowns is the boredom that characterizes sitting at home all day. Proper management can help ease that. Start with small things: a specific daily routine could go a long way. It helps keep you occupied and you have things to look forward to.
At the same time though, keep a healthy dose of flexibility. You don’t want the routine to be so monotonous that it adds to the boredom.
Try coming up with fun games that not only help pass time, but also educate. Ideal hygiene is important regardless of the state of the world. While social distancing can be a bit more specific, it is important for your children to know about it.
Which helps prove another point: don’t hide things from your children. Everybody knows that there is a pandemic raging on full force out there. Try explaining what is going, in terms they can understand. Hiding the truth seems to never yield positive outcomes.
Tips for Parenting During Covid from the AAP
This is a general overview of what UNICEF suggested. We wanted to pick and choose some of the things that we deemed more important. As we mentioned we will include the advice of The American Academy of Pediatrics too. So let’s jump straight in, and see what the AAP has to say about parenting during Covid.
Some of the things that we mentioned above might have rung some bells for some of you. That is because they are very similar to what Positive Discipline promotes. A topic that we have covered previously.
We highly recommend you check that out too.
Positive Discipline is generally a great tool for parenting. Yet parenting during Covid seems to need it even more. The rules of the game are the same though. Start by using your attention to reinforce desired behavior.
Pay attention whenever you see them doing something you want them to do more of. You can employ time-outs too. Use both regular time-out and positive time-out.
Remember the valuable lesson that most of the time bad behavior is a side effect of boredom. If you see that your children are misbehaving. Try to redirect their energy to something else, something productive.
Boredom, as we already mentioned, is going to be a huge thing during lockdowns. Unfortunately, boredom will also be your number one foe. It is your duty to come up with creative means of defeating this most heinous foe.
Be reassuring, loving and lead by example
One thing is for sure, we are living through some scary times. Children are most vulnerable to this. Make sure that you show them love and affection. The AAP highly favors that you use the “I love you” phrase as much as possible.
Offering extra hugs is also very much needed. While at the same time, try keeping relatives close through online calls.
While talking about the future, be optimistic. We would like to recommend using this as an opportunity to show how cool science is to your children. Let them know that scientists are working to develop a vaccine that is going to save the world.
Also let them know when you have to leave the house. Be specific regarding why you’re leaving and how long you’ll be gone. At the same time be understanding towards them. “I understand that you too want to go to the park and play with other children…
Unfortunately, as you know, we can’t do that right now.” In this instance, showing them that you know they want something, but we just can’t have it, helps reassure them.
Other than Positive Discipline, another virtue that seems to be very much needed for parenting during covid is leading by example. Show them that mommy and/or daddy always wears his/her mask. They always wash their hands properly. They too want to go back to the old days, but right now we can’t.
Our children always copy us and it is very important that we give them a great example to copy.
This is hard for you too, mum and dad
Parenting during Covid is complex because we worry about the well-being of our children. That’s a very honorable trait most parents share. Do not forget that this whole pandemic is taking a toll on you too. Things are hard and we are all facing the same inferno.
The AAP suggests that a healthy you is a vital component for good parenting during Covid. Exercise if you can, keep a healthy diet, and find ways to decompress. If you have someone else who can take care of the children, take turns. It is crucial and normal for you to want a little me time, amidst these crazy times.
The psychological aspect is also very important in this regard. Data shows that the pandemic has had a rather significant negative impact on the mental health of many Americans.
Will this thing that is causing me stress last forever?
Will my feelings differ about this tomorrow?
Hopefully this will help you realize that this is not the end of the world. The AAP warns that without proper ‘decompression’ you risk lashing out at your children or loved ones. By helping yourself, you help your children too.
Some final thoughts about Parenting during Covid:
Experts are trying their best to help with this situation. With vaccines being more and more accessible we are truly seeing light at the end of the tunnel. For the remaining time, we would like to just leave you with one last advice.
This isn’t based on much research or isn’t backed by any scientific studies. It is simply our opinion, so do take it with a pinch of salt.
Understand that your children, just like, are surviving a pandemic right now. Try to put pressure away. The last thing you need is to have extremely high standards for you or those around you. The act of waking up everyday and facing a world on fire alone is amazing enough.
Understand that we are all going through a lot, and give yourself and your children a break…