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Parenting is challenging. Whether you are a single parent, working parent or you stay at home, you have one kid or six, parenting is always tough. Most of us are just finding ways to get through, enjoying moments of peace, and during the harder days, we take comfort from knowing that they aren’t all like that and that we have plenty to look forward to. For the past few months, however, many of our usual coping mechanisms have been taken away.
If you look forward to easy days where you can meet a friend for a play date and share the load, or you love taking your kids on fun days out to burn off some energy, or even relish the times when your kids are at school so that you can get stuff done around the house without distractions, you may have suddenly found being stuck at home all of the time hard.
So many of us have had to take on home-schooling responsibilities while trying to reduce our kids’ anxiety and keep them safe. And we haven’t even been able to meet our friends for a glass of wine and a de-stress after a particularly trying week. After six months of living in each other’s pockets, with plenty of uncertainty throw-in, your stress levels are bound to be high. But the bad news is, if you let that stress and tension show, your kids will get anxious, their behavior will suffer, and your days will get much harder. So, let’s look at some ways to manage.
Share the Load
This article on parenting in a pandemic shares helpful advice on how to manage co-parenting if you are divorced or separated, and changes that you may have to make to your usual routines during the pandemic. But, even if you live with your partner, it’s important to reassess your roles at home. Sit down and have an honest discussion about what you both bring to your family team, and how you can share the load when it comes to childcare, teaching, and household chores. Try to find some time for yourselves as a couple, but also some time to be by yourself.
Pick Your Battles
When your kids are at school and life is normal, you might have rules when it comes to things like time spent online, room cleaning, and bedtimes. These rules help us to manage life and set clear boundaries. But, when you are stressed out and need a break, don’t worry too much. At the moment, getting through is all that matters, and if that means more screen time occasionally, ask yourself if it will hurt.
Keep in Touch
Luckily, the pandemic is happening in 2020 when there are plenty of ways for us to keep in touch with loved ones, even if we might not be able to see them or see them as often. Keep in touch with your friends and family and encourage your kids to have their own conversations privately.
Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is to try to remind yourself that this isn’t forever. It might feel like it right now, but take each day as it comes, be flexible, and soon, you’ll have carved out a new normal for you and your family.