We’ve all seen the videos of little ones losing it, like the preschooler who cries “You know what’s open? NOTHING!!!”. They truly aren’t able to process the severity of the pandemic and it’s heartbreaking. Reassure them that this way of life is temporary, they are okay and safe, and they are loved.
It’s hard to focus on the tiny victories when the days blend together, with everyone trapped in the house for so long. But the small moments are worth celebrating, as much for the children as for the parents. Were you able to head off a toddler meltdown during a car ride? Successfully achieved a bath or nap? Got a toddler to try a new food? Engaged the children to help clean up their toys? All wins!
However, with the addition of home schooling as part of the day’s events, it creates a whole different dynamic in the safe respite that is “home.” I cannot tell you how grateful I am that my children are older, because fifth grade math …
For those in the thick of it, here are some tips from the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research & Policy (NICRP) about the Power of Positive Parenting:
Ensure a positive, engaging environment and have reasonable expectations.
Use assertive discipline with a firm but positive manner.
Acknowledge successes and together think of ways to celebrate them.
Look after yourself as a parent.
Not every moment needs to focus on schoolwork. Tools children need to learn may be disrupted right now. This time together can be used to help develop coping skills and good communication. If your child, at any age, is frustrated about the forced stay at home order, acknowledge it and help them talk through their feelings. Are they afraid to go back to school? They need to deal with negative feelings and address this stressful life event.
Ask what they miss the most about going to school or daycare. Is it not being able to see their friends or wondering if their teachers are okay? Help them problem solve by creating a list of things they can do when the order is lifted. For the youngest children, distracting them with arts and crafts or reading to them can help release the tension.
Share your own challenges in an age appropriate manner and demonstrate openness as a parent. When we say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” it shows our own vulnerability, in turn teaching children key social and emotional skills, like how to manage and address their emotions. You are human and you are going to make mistakes, especially during these times.
So, what to do with this abundance of time together? NICRP is home to the Nevada Afterschool Network which provides outreach, advocacy, and resources for afterschool activities. They’ve developed a suite of fun and engaging activities to take advantage of our time together — rather than just passing the time. Here’s the link to explore: https://www.nevadaafterschool.org/
Remember that all activities should be safely executed and aligned with the state and local health guidelines.
Working from home while managing schoolwork, activities and cooped up, cranky children has its own set of challenges. Hiding out in the laundry room for an important conference call is just an invitation for a child to get into mischief, like cutting off one side of the cat’s whiskers with cuticle scissors (yes, this happened on my watch).
I follow a few Mommy Bloggers on Instagram and had to laugh at a post by @momtransparent1: My youngest has been playing ‘mommy’ all week with her baby doll and today she pushed her baby into the kitchen, picked up a toy phone and started screaming, “I’M ON AN IMPORTANT CALL! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!” Ouch.
Now more than ever we need to carve out time to decompress, either in the bathtub with a glass of wine, or time alone with our significant other. Put the kiddos to bed early one night and have a Date Night, even if you’re going to eat leftovers or take-out that’s past it’s prime. It’s important to reconnect with one another and remember that you’re in this together, no matter how long it takes.
By Kim Amato / Founder / Baby’s Bounty