05 May Pandemic Parenting: How to Manage Stress
During this time when you’re not only being a parent, but also perhaps working and being a teacher as well, it can feel a little overwhelming. Although it can be tough when you’re in the thick of it, remember this won’t last forever. However, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you during this time.
Acknowledge the Difficulty
First things first, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a difficult time. Helping your child with their school work, while also continuing to parent and work is really hard. It’s important to take time to recognize this, even if you feel privileged that you have a job.
During this time, you may not be able to be the perfect parent and/or the perfect employee. Things will slip—maybe the dinner time will be later, you’ll have to choose between attending a conference call and helping your kids with online learning or perhaps your kids are having more screen time than you’d normally like. It’s all OK. What matters most is providing a stable and loving space where your kids feel safe and able to talk. Check out this article from CMHA National about caring for children in the COVID-19 crisis.
Ask for Help—Virtually
They say that no person is an island—especially during times like this. Do you have family members or friends who perhaps aren’t as busy at the moment that may be able to help remotely? Ask them to read stories, play flash card games for literacy and math or perhaps even have a conversation in French. The person who you ask may also be appreciative of having something to keep their mind busy if they are feeling isolated. Right now, Audible is streaming a free collection of kids’ stories absolutely free.
Ask for Help—From the Kids
Get the kids involved in looking after the house. Younger kids can empty the dishwasher and set the table, for example. Older kids can help with cooking, laundry, walking the dog, etc. Along with helping you out, it’s also a great way to teach them responsibility and a sense of community. Check out this Chore Chart for appropriate chores by age group.
Getting outside if you can makes everything better. Even you’re busy, going for a neighbourhood walk in the sunshine boosts everybody’s mood and gets rid of cabin fever. It can also be a learning opportunity—you can talk about what you see (e.g. spring birds and flowers, how the community is supporting each other with messages in the windows, the direction the water flows, etc.). This article on ways to safely get outside during this time from CBC Parents may help you to get some unique ideas.
Take Time for Yourself
Take time for yourself. When the boundaries between work and home evaporate, it can be hard to feel like your own person. Getting some exercise on your own, reading, or doing a creative activity are great ways to honour yourself and refill your cup. Here’s an article on practicing mindfulness during uncertain times and one on the connection between physical and mental health that may be helpful.
Look for Positives
In the long run, a few months of at-home learning will make little impact on your child’s education and teachers will be working hard in the school year to get everyone up to the same level. Instead of worrying about being a teacher, as well as an employee, enjoy the extra time with your kids, which you may not have had with them since they were babies.
Common Sense Media: Free Educational Apps, Games and Websites
Scholastic Canada: Resources for Teachers and Parents
Create and Learn at Home: Crayola
Learning Disabilities Association of York Region: Social Hour for Kids with Learning Disabilities or ADHD
Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario: LD at Home
CMHA National: Screens and Your Child—The Inside Scoop