How Parents Can Deal With Stress During COVID-19
Being a parent is more stress than anyone could ever bargain for. But being a parent during a catastrophic pandemic? That’s something else entirely. We know that caring for your child during these trying times is incredibly difficult. But fear not, these simple tips can help you bond with your child positively and help manage his or her emotions.
1. Talk About Fear:
Fear has been an unwelcome, but commonly experienced emotion over the last two years. Children rely almost entirely on their parents for comfort when faced with fear, hence it is vital that you reassure your child and help them feel emotionally safe.
- Answer any questions about the pandemic in a concise yet candid manner.
- Stay in touch with your loved ones, like grandparents, cousins, or friends to help ease feelings of isolation.
- Inform your child before stepping out of the house
- Give more hugs
- Be a good role model and talk through how you are managing your own feelings
- Talk positively about the future
2. Structure and Routine:
Though difficult during lockdown and quarantine, it is all the more important for you to establish routine in your kid’s life. A sense of order and discipline will go a long way in reassuring them that nothing much has changed, and things will soon come back to normal. Establish concrete wake-up and bedtime routines, mealtimes, and schoolwork timings. It is also important to inculcate exercise, chores, online activities with peers, and family time into their routine.
It may be extra hard to get your kids to go to bed on time, so establish a “Book Brush Bed” policy for younger children. Read a book with your child before bedtime, and insist on no screens after 8pm. This will ensure your child has a healthy sleep-wake cycle even during home quarantine.
3. Positive Discipline:
No parent takes pleasure in rigorously disciplining their child. However, times like these will involve very tricky emotions, and thus very tricky behaviour. Younger children will not be able to properly vocalize how they feel, which may cause them to act out their anger or stress. Meanwhile, teenagers may become irritable since they will feel like they are missing out some of the best years of their lives. It is important to validate these feelings, but also keep a firm hand over what is or isn't acceptable behavior.
- Redirect bad behavior
- Engage your kids creatively
- Reward your kids to reinforce good behavior
- Utilize time-out if necessary, and have as little emotion as possible when correcting them
- Do not use corporal punishment
Remember that your mental health is just as important as your child’s. A caregiver cannot do their job if they do not first care for themselves. Take a breath, and allow yourself some downtime. This pandemic has been an incredibly unforgiving time for all age groups, but parents in particular may have found it to be the ultimate test. Just know that you’re doing great, and you will get through this in one piece. Reach out to your paediatrician for any serious concerns about your family’s well-being.