Parenting can be hard at the best of times. Parenting during Covid-19? Even harder. Here’s how to deal.
I don’t know about you, but parenting during Covid-19 is pushing me to my limits. My patience is stretched so thin it’s almost transparent. My She-Hulk stress levels are through the roof as I try to juggle work commitments with homeschooling a three-year-old who really isn’t down with virtual lessons. And don’t get me started on trying to keep the not-quite-two-year-old from destroying the joint. Yep, parenting during the circuit breaker and trying to explain Covid-19 to kids is HARD. But armed with some handy parenting tips, I’ve slowly been getting used to this new way of life. Want to know how? Read on…
Embrace one-on-one time
We all love a bit of solo attention with our loved ones, am I right? (We miss date nights, sob!) It’s the same with our kidlets. Set aside a chunk of time each day to spend some one-on-one time with your child/ren. It can be the same time each day if you’re sticking to a routine right now. Bonus parenting tip: a scheduled slot gives them something to look forward to, too! I’m enjoying playing Snap and dancing to silly songs with my eldest and curling up with some interactive books with my youngest. Asking them what they want to do is also a great way to build up their confidence. Give them your full attention (no phones!) and enjoy it.
Use positive language
Eugh, the amount of times I find myself saying, “Stop doing that”… or words to that effect. It’s no fun saying it and it can’t be nice to hear it, either (cue #mumguilt). Instead, say what you want to see and turn the negative into a positive. So rather than, “Stop throwing your food on the floor” (a regular one in my household), try “Please eat out of your bowl.” Get the picture? Also, us parents are forever banging on about using ‘inside voices’ – so swallow your own medicine and lead by example. When parenting during Covid-19 – and forever after – speaking calmly rather than yelling is always the best approach. I’m still learning this one…
Practise being thankful
Personally, I’m finding this one really helpful. If your kids are old enough to join in, get them to do it, too. Every night, I’ll think back over the day and think of one positive. And then I’ll give myself a virtual gold star on my imaginary ‘I rock’ noticeboard. You all spent time cooking a meal and everyone loved it? Go, you! You sang along to Baby Shark without wanting to gouge out your own eyeballs for once? Result! You finally finished a chapter of your book? Amazing. When parenting during Covid-19, look for the positives, no matter how small.
Celebrate the good behaviour
In this current climate, kids can feel anxious, too. For me, I’m dealing with a sudden spike in tantrums (and that’s just me). Let me tell you, I am NOT a fan. What I am trying to do (‘trying’ being the operative word here) is nip any undesirable behaviour in the bud before it escalates. How? Distract, distract, distract. And don’t underestimate the power of praise. Saying thank you for positive behaviour shows you notice and you care – and is a parenting tip we all love to do.
Stop. And breeeeeathe.
Perhaps you’re finding working from home hard – perhaps what you do for work isn’t even possible remotely. Perhaps you’re stressed about the schools being closed. Maybe you’re worried about money and financial commitments. So many of us are feeling overwhelmed and stressed while parenting during this Covid-19 circuit breaker, so take a minute to press the pause button. As well as giving yourself a good dose of self-care, you can try a relaxation or mindfulness activity. There are loads of useful apps if you prefer being guided, but I like to close my eyes, slow down and focus on my breathing.
Parenting during Covid-19 is a struggle, damn straight. But cut yourself some slack. Go easy on the kids and yourself, because it’s not for forever; it’s just for now. Here’s to the calm after the chaos. Here’s to the rainbow after the storm. And here’s to a brave new world.
Top image: Evgeni Tcherkasski