As proof of practicality, families are cautiously approaching the effects of the pandemic on their living conditions. We can’t say for sure how better or worse the situation gets, so it’s always good to stay on the safe side.
Sticking to the safer side also means being extra attentive at home. Kids tend to find themselves in the middle of an unfamiliar new normal.
Covering The Lockdown Basics
- Lockdown Etiquette
Parenting combined with work during the pandemic is no easy feat, and how parents react towards it reflects on the kids. This statement is supported by clinical child psychologist Dr. Donna Housman, Ed.D. “Children learn from not only what we say, but also by watching what we do.”
UNICEF encourages parents to do the following: Speak kindly to all members of the household. Share the load of taking care of children and other family members. Assign household chores and childcare with the family. For mom and dad’s sanity, establish and respect on and off times with other adults at home.
- Explain The New Normal
Kids are curious young people. To set the children’s expectations, it is necessary to have a family discussion to explain the pandemic. Make sure to explain thoroughly why you are locked in. Remember to touch on the family’s health, risk of infection, vulnerable people, and schooling.
Aside from explaining the new normal, it is also necessary to emphasize what they are supposed to do. Explain to the children the need for proper hygiene.
Find fun and enjoyable ways to teach kids how to wash their hands properly. Encourage them as well to avoid touching their face as well. Finally, explain the importance of wearing masks when out in public.
Keeping The Home Peaceful
- Making Mental Space
Earlier during the pandemic, countries’ governing bodies issued a lockdown to help lessen interaction amongst people. Authorities warn us of the risks of going outside, pleading us to leave only when necessary. When staying in with others, it is crucial to remember that mental space is as valuable as physical space.
Youngsters need to have their own space, yet sometimes it may be difficult, especially if they share rooms with siblings. However, parents can instead encourage and support children (and themselves) in designing their own mental spaces.
Kids should have space where they can draw, read, play, and call friends to help them. Scheduling who gets specific parts of those and agreeing as a family can ease families into finding their mental spaces.
- Quality Time
Proximity doesn’t measure the meaningfulness and sincerity if spending time with your family. Squeeze in your schedule regular family get-together sessions like game night, gardening, cooking, or exercise. This lockdown is the perfect time to get to know your children and bond with them.
Exercise is quite important, even during a lockdown. Any activity allowing you to stretch and move your muscles can aid in boosting endorphins and releasing pent-up stress. There are several exercises you can do from home.
- Mitigate Arguments And Squabbles
In a house with adults and children copped up together for an extended period, it is totally normal to have arguments blow up. But fights may ensue. Understandably, being restricted to a single place day in day out may take a toll on our emotional and mental health. Besides, people have different coping mechanisms.
As parents, always remember to stay calm. Arguments and fights happen, but you need to keep yourself collected. Upset parties should take a timeout from each other.
The best way is to separate them, so they turn to their coping styles and get into their mental spaces. Preventing arguments over the television or devices is possible through implementing an agreed and fair schedule.
Importantly, communication is vital in any situation where there’s conflict. Directly talking to your upset child can ease their minds and get you a fresher perspective. When they have calmed down, ask them why they reacted the way they did. Carefully ask them how they felt.
Keeping Yourself At Peace
- Letting Go Of Inhibitions
Parents need parenting themselves during this new normal. The pressure of a parent is equal at this point with work and home literally in one place. Parents often feel they cannot escape either of their daunting responsibilities. That is why parents shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves.
Sometimes allowing your kids to lead the way helps solutions find their way to unknotting problems. Ask your kids what they need to feel happy or focus at home on their studies. This sense of autonomy helps them grow, and parents worry about one thing less.
- Working From Home
Bringing work home has ever since been one major stressor of working parents. But now that work lives at home, it seems like it’s difficult to escape. The duality of things requires flexible planning and precise execution.
Create a schedule to differentiate work and housework. Physically create a line between work and work from home with a designated workspace. But remember, kids are unpredictable, so be ready for any surprise drills and shrills even when you’re in a meeting.
Do not underestimate the purpose of nap time. A good hour or two can help parents stay productive and on track, while the kids are snoozing.
- Self-Care In Your Arsenal
Therapist Jaime Bronstein, LCSW points out that it’s important for a parent’s emotional reserve at a good functioning level to be able to support the children’s needs. She explains to parents that it is not a selfish act to put ourselves first.
Both parents and children have been affected by this new normal, and we’ve got a lot of adapting to do. Managing the home and your family members’ spaces and time, communicating with them, and prioritizing your sanity are parents’ home survival kit. However, the whole situation shouldn’t be taken negatively.
Admit it – this new normal can bring meaningful change to your family life.