Top Ten Parenting Through a Pandemic Tips
1. Say yes more! Make this time novel instead of just frustrating and worrisome. More screens, more whipped cream, more mommy making fun of herself while you teach her your dance routine… Hell, yeah I’ll be in your tik tok!!
2. Don’t create issues that aren’t there! Remember the saying “never wake a sleeping baby?” Well, same with older kids. Are they giggling and happily playing video games? Do not, I repeat, do not start counting screen time! Are they happy? Yes? Leave them.
3. Be realistic. Siblings that tend to fight aren’t going to suddenly be best friends. They will be themselves right now, maybe even 100% more dramatically. However, you can facilitate more positive interactions by doing an activity with them: family game night, family movie night, take a bike ride, make cookies… Or you can ignore them, this is normal!
4. Self care- I know, I see you rolling your eyes. This can be five minutes. Does a shower make you feel refreshed? Take one. Does being outside energize you? Walk every day, it’s good for the kids, too! Does fancy cheese make you feel indulgent? Get some in your next grocery order!
They ship and deliver locally (ok, my baby brother is co-owner, but I promise you will not be disappointed!).
If you are struggling with your mental health, teletherapy either through video chat or on the phone is a great resource, and many insurance plans are offering no deductible visits right now. If you are in Michigan you can call this mental health hotline 888-PEER-753.
5. Be a little ridiculous. You want popsicles outside when it’s 50 degrees? OK! Sure, the dining room table can be our new art room… no one is coming over anyhow! You love Thanksgiving dinner, me too, lets make it on April 20th, why not!
6. Stay connected, whatever this means to you. Group texts, phone calls, facetime, zoom, what’s app… waving to a neighbor and taking 30 seconds to say hi while overly socially distancing, playing online canasta…
7. Get something new to keep the kids busy. I get that this is an economically uncomfortable time. So only do what makes sense for your family. I like to periodically buy some new art kits on Amazon and I shop the sales. I have my favorites linked below!
8. Set up clear expectations for your kids:
Use visual reminders for your kids, such as my stop and go signs, if you are working at home.
Go over the schedule the night before, e.g. “At 9 am, we will start home learning, so you need to have had breakfast and have a shirt on (pants optional…); I see that you are having a great time playing Minecraft, at 5 we are all going outside together.”
9. Screen time. I no longer count screen time, face it, that would be depressing. Instead I give myself a high five every time we do something without screens. Kids stayed outside for 30 minutes-- high five Franki! Kids did an art project for 20--high five Franki! Kids read a book… you get it!
10. Be kind to yourself. Are you struggling with depression or anxiety, so the tv is on all day, but you envelop your kids in hugs and kisses-- you rock and are doing amazing! Are you a creative, artsy fartsy mom and this is your dream-- so the kids are being creative too, you rock and are doing amazing! Are you on an emotional roller coaster so your kids get a little bit of both, that’s awesome! NO one alive right now has ever done this before, so there is no right or wrong. You are enough.
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