Thanks to Sunanda Sinha for contributing to this article!

As the world fights through pandemic, working from home can be a dream come true to some. However, for parents without support, it may also be hard to manage the extra workload. During COVID-19, we get to nurture our children ourselves, which is a great way of bonding, and we hope these tips will help you succeed.

Tips for Parenting During COVID

  • Set up a daily routine. Try to stick with the same rhythm every day, whether that is waking up earlier than your kids or staying up later. For example, you might want to find napkins, select toys, charge your devices, or load devices with rhymes/moral stories to engage kids. You should also follow the same timetable as in school. You don’t have to do it hour-by-hour, but it’s a great way to start building the daily structure.

  • Let your kids have fun in a room. Yes, this will end up in a mess (probably) but cleaning up is often worth the work you’re able to get done while they’re having fun. For example, you can schedule a meeting at the same time. Also, put aside some toys for a week or two. When you bring them back, they are almost like new again and kids will enjoy playing with them for awhile.

  • Keep your children close. Creating a small play area around your desk might be a good idea, if it doesn’t disturb you. This allows your kids to feel like they have your attention. They can even participate in meetings too with a little introduction as most employers should understand.

  • Spend free-time with your children, but also keep some for yourself. When you need a breather from working, try spending time with your kids to show them that they’re valued. It will instill them with positivity. Of course, you’ll probably also want your own free-time too and there’s nothing wrong with alternating turns with the other parent or finding activities that you enjoy doing while watching your kids. Block out time every day for yourself. If you’re happy, your kids will be happy. We have tips for stress reduction during COVID and more general stress tips for you to check out as well.

  • Talk to your kids about COVID. If your kids are big enough to understand, talk to them about COVID and the importance of still studying even though they’re now at home all day. Try to understand what they love doing, introduce them to motivational talks on an electronic device, and remind them about positive things every day.

  • Don’t stress about negative repercussions from no school. Home-schooling actually has several benefits. Because noise levels aren’t as high at home as in school, children with concentration problems can actually focus more on their work at home (assuming of course that they can forget other distractions like mobile games). Children can also learn to take more responsibility when they have to keep track of their own online school meetings and planning their studies (with the help of their parents).

  • Don’t fight in front of the kids. Talk kindly to everyone in the family. If the kids see fights, make sure they see the making up. Talk to your partner/parents/other roommates with kindness and say things like “I was tired and spoke out of anger. That was wrong and I’m sorry.” Then have the other person respond with understanding and forgiveness. This will model the behavior you want to see in your children.

  • Praise your children for helping around the house, like “Thank you for clearing dinner. That was a huge help.” Do not use negative language like “Stop shouting” or “Why do you never help with anything?”

  • Take a break and cool down if you’re angry. Practice meditation every day and breathe deeply for 20-seconds before speaking to your children if you’re angry and will scream at them. It’s okay to walk away from crying babies for a little to give yourself a break.

  • Make hand-washing and hygiene fun and teach children to wash their hands and wear masks if you’re leaving the house!

  • Distract children from bad behavior. Create a diary of when your children act up and notice what triggers it. When you think they’re about to act up, suggest they read a book, take a nap, work on homework, or play a game to distract them. Notice which distractions work and are productive.

  • Don’t tell your children other people have it worse. That’s always true, but that doesn’t mean your children aren’t frustrated and upset with being at home all the time. Tell them you understand how hard it is and you’re proud of them for trying their best. Ask them how you can help more.

  • Don’t let work take over your life. Your children deserve your undivided attention for a bit of time each day.

  • Share financial worries with your kids and explain to them why you can’t afford the same lifestyle anymore if you’ve had to cut back. Tell them you’re proud of them for understanding why they can’t get their favorite snacks as frequently or why you can’t afford more games. Telling them you’re proud of them and rewarding them for a positive attitude (even if they don’t have it) will encourage them to be more positive in the future.

Additional Resources

Mentors

Annina Maunula
Annina Maunula
Childcare Worker
Sunanda Sinha
Sunanda Sinha
Physicist and Teacher

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