Whether you are a parent of a toddler or a teen, the current coronavirus pandemic has likely rocked your world. For those without children, being stuck at home can be a challenge. But for parents, times can be especially tough. From school closures, to working at home, to social distancing many challenges exist. For this reason, it’s important to appreciate what the best parenting techniques might be for the situation. In other words, what are the best practices for pandemic parenting?
Naturally, different parenting techniques will work for different families depending on the situation. Likewise, the age of your children certainly matters as well. But with these caveats, there are some great tips to help you parent while being stuck at home during this crisis. Pandemic parenting isn’t necessarily about being perfect all the time but making the best of a tough situation. With this in mind, the following are some insights about good parenting techniques to consider while dealing with COVID-19.
Pandemic Parenting Tip #1 – Routines Rock!
When communities and states began implementing social distancing and lockdown policies, we all felt the impact. We were no longer able to go to our favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Sports games and entertainment attractions were cancelled. And some of us were forced to work from home. All of these developments disrupted our normal routines causing us to feel out of control. And the same is true for our children. With schools closed, friends isolated, and being stick at home, kids also feel this loss of structure. For this reason, one parenting technique you should pursue is implementing some type of regular routine each day. Schedules should be flexible to an extent, but at the same time provide predictability. This will help restore some sense of control and reduce the level of anxiety the pandemic naturally brings.
Pandemic Parenting Tip #2 – Build the Bonds
Yes, we are all stuck at home. But being stuck at home has some advantages and offers opportunities. Especially for parents of teens, this provides a chance to really spend some quality one-on-one time. A key parenting technique is therefore to build this into each day’s schedule so children can anticipate the time together. These times can be used to openly discuss feelings and concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects. Likewise, it can be used to enjoy new hobbies or activities together. And by allowing your child to have input about how the time can be used, you will build their self-confidence. Try and arrange at lest 20 minutes a day (if not more) for parent-child bonding time. This parenting technique will not only be beneficial now but also well after the pandemic has subsided.
Pandemic Parenting Tip #3 – Positivity Preferred
It’s no secret that being stuck at home is anxiety-provoking. This can be especially stressful when children are young, and you are having to work from home. As a result, it’s easy for parents to raise their voice, become inpatient, and focus on negative behaviors alone. A good parenting technique, however, is to break this cycle by embracing positivity. Positivity refers to an ability to offer positive feedback for good behaviors. Likewise, it means taking a step back and avoiding any escalation of your mood or voice when bad behaviors occur. By remaining calm, respectful, and pleasant, your children are more likely to respond favorably. This doesn’t mean that constructive discipline shouldn’t be used. But constructive discipline allows natural and logical consequences to be experienced for bad behaviors. And it offers children opportunities to improve their behavior in the future. By being positive (and realistic) with your children, you will find your home’s environment will be much more pleasant.
Pandemic Parenting Tip #4 – Self-Care Is Essential
Being stuck at home is stressful. Social isolation is stressful. Parenting on a good day can be stressful. Combine all of these together, and it’s pretty clear parents will undoubtedly need a little TLC. Like the flagship guiding a fleet of boats, you need to take care of yourself to be an effective parent. This means not only acknowledging that you are stressed but likewise taking action to reduce it. With this in mind, an important parenting technique relates more to you than your child. Taking time for yourself, meditating, and engaging in mindfulness practices can all help you better manage your stress level. Likewise, expressing your concerns with friends, family members, or event therapists via telehealth are good practices. In order to be a good parent, you must first be good to yourself. Managing your stress during these difficult times is therefore very important.
Pandemic Parenting Tip #5 – Be the Source for Information
In today’s world, it is easy to get false or misleading information. When it comes to the coronavirus pandemic, this is particularly true given the degree of anxiety it provokes. Misinformation can lead kids to believe specific countries or individuals are responsible for the pandemic and its effects. Likewise, poorly informed sources may undermine safe practices like social distances and hand-washing. As a result, one essential parenting technique involves being a trusted source of information during this time of crisis. Being open-minded, honest, and supportive goes a long way in building credibility with your children. And researching unknown answers about COVID-19 together teaches children which information is trustworthy. All of this will further enhance the parent -child relationship while also teaching them how to find answers themselves.
Use This Parenting Time Wisely
With so many of us stuck at home, it’s easy to focus on loss and the negative aspects of the current pandemic. However, every setback offers opportunities that would otherwise not be available. And it offers a chance for you to show resilience when times are crazy. This is certainly true when it comes to parenting during the coronavirus pandemic. While the parenting techniques described are specific to this current time, they always offer benefits. And by implementing them now, you may well find they are easier to maintain after the pandemic passes. No one ever said parenting was easy, and it’s even more challenging today. But by taking advantage of the opportunities the pandemic offers, parents will likely expand the rewards they might otherwise enjoy.