Stay Home, Stay Well: A Parent’s Guide to COVID-19
Written by: Miranda Owen
Any parent may be struggling with the switch in their family’s daily routine as a result of the pandemic. Parents all over the globe are sharing tips on how to maintain a “new normal” and keep in tune with their children’s emotions during these unexpected and difficult circumstances.
1. Outline Your Child’s Daily Schedule
Many parents have found it helpful to map out their children’s schedule. Whether it be day-by-day or a general list of what needs to be done daily, it is important to balance out fun activities with chores and schoolwork. If possible, time spent being active or outdoors can be a big mood-booster, so definitely encourage it. Most parents find it much easier to manage daily life when there is a relative schedule to follow, and children can expect a certain level of consistency in their routine.
2. Set Reasonable Rules and Expectations
When the whole family is together constantly for the first time like this, parents should set boundaries and rules for the children (and themselves). It is crucial to make expectations clear, so everyone knows what behavior is expected of them. It’s equally important to allow family members to make mistakes and grow from them.
3. Check In
The pandemic can be a source of stress for everyone, even children. Make sure you remain attentive to their feelings and emotions. Spending one-on-one time can allow family members to open up to one another and create a safe space for sharing any related anxiety or troubles. Try to be patient with your children, as they are experiencing some of the same fear and uncertainty that you are.
4. Allow Alone Time
With most of your children’s time being spent inside the house with family, young children can be overwhelmed. Encourage all of your children to take breaks and relax alone if they need to. Teenagers especially may request time away from family to communicate with friends. Encourage them to communicate through safe distancing measures. Be sure to take breaks for self-care yourself, too!
5. Positivity is Key
Try to remain positive and avoid unnecessary tension. It is a stressful time for all of us, and is crucial that we try to manage our stress and be mindful of the emotions we are projecting toward our families. Use positive words when asking your child to do something and praise good behavior.
6. Talk It Out
It’s expected that children will have questions about COVID-19. It is important to be as open and honest as possible and to attempt to answer any questions they may have. Think about what they are able to handle, and respond accordingly. Remind children of the importance of preventative steps like hand-washing and social distancing. Also, affirm that you care for them and that they can talk to you any time.
Hopefully these tips can aid any parents who are struggling with managing parenting during COVID-19. For more tips, you can visit the UNICEF site. Stay well!
Stay Home, Stay Well is NAMI Wake’s new blog and video series focused on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our attempt to create a more mentally healthy community, we will be providing resources each week. We know this is a difficult time in everyone’s lives right now. Our hope is that you find helpful tips, information, and resources in this series on how to stay mentally well at home.