Parenting is hard enough. Factor in a pandemic and a recession, and it feels like a climb up a steep mountain. Admitting this doesn’t mean we love our children any less; it’s simply being honest about the realities of parenting in a global crisis.
In the time of corona, more parenting challenges abound. Suddenly, we’ve had to contend with online classes, cabin fever, and a highly infectious respiratory disease. As parents, we want to protect our kids and make sure they’re always safe, healthy, and happy. But not everything is in control—we can only try and do our best.
Here are some tips to keep your kids happy and healthy in a pandemic.
Prioritize health, cleanliness, and hygiene.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidelines regarding the transmission of COVID-19. The virus can be transmitted through respiratory and tiny airborne droplets, which necessitates the use of masks and even face shields in public.
Be proactive about your kids’ health by bringing them to the family doctor for routine checkups and their pediatric dentist to ensure their dental health.
There’s not much we can control in the outside world, but we can control how we maintain and clean our home. Use natural disinfectants—like 75% alcohol, diluted vinegar, and even hot water—which experts say in some cases can be as effective in eliminating germs as bleach.
Here are some areas in your home that you need to disinfect regularly:
- High touch surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, tables, and chairs
- Sinks, faucets, and bathroom mirrors
- The insides and rim of your trash cans
Don’t forget to wash your hands and take a thorough shower every time you come home after being in a public place with no social distancing. Wear your mask outside, too.
Spend one-on-one time.
Since your kids are spending more time at home, take this time to build a genuine relationship organically with them. Spend intentional one-on-one time with them; ask them about their friends and their interests. It’s not about trying to get them to behave—it’s about them knowing you always have their back and that you’re someone they can always talk to about anything.
Create a structure.
For many adults who work from home, the lockdowns have blurred the lines between work and rest; their professional and personal lives. The same can be said about your kids and their schooling. If before they were able to think of home as a place where they can rest after a long day at school, now they have to do all their studying at home. It must create a level of confusion for them that they’ve never had before.
Combat this by creating a daily routine. Encourage them to wake up at a particular hour, have their meals at specific times, and a fixed schedule for their playtimes too. Create a table that can help them visualize how their day will look.
Be honest about COVID-19, but lead with hope.
Kids can be very perceptive, and not talking about them about the crises of our day might create confusion and fear. Be honest with them about the disease and the steps you are taking to help protect them from it. Tell them because other people are more vulnerable, we need to play our part in helping stop the disease.
Be honest and open, but lead with hope and positivity. Tell them human beings are resilient and that you are all in this together.
Partner with your spouse or others.
When hard times come, sometimes we feel like it’s better not to rely on people. We tend to default to our sense of self-sufficiency because we feel like the only way to do it right is by doing it ourselves. But in our attempts to do it all, we tend to forget that there are people we can rely on as well, people who can help take the load off our shoulders.
Don’t forget that you and your spouse are in this together and that teamwork is a huge part of making families work. If you’re a solo parent, think of people you can trust, like your parents, siblings, and close friends. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help.
Take Care of Yourself, Too
There’s a reason you first need to put your oxygen mask on before helping others—we’re no good to the people we care for if we’re not doing well. Reach out for help, pray or meditate, treat yourself to a sponge bath or a delicious meal—don’t neglect self-care. As a parent, you deserve it, too.
Meta title: Essential Tricks for Parenting amid a Pandemic
Meta description: With a pandemic and a recession, parenting feels like a climb up a steep mountain. New realities demand new techniques to ensure our children’s safety.