As we all continue to adjust to the new normal that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on, many families—parents included—are having trouble coping with changes. Whether it’s working from home, online school, time away from extended family and friends, or anxiety from the 24-hour news cycle, there’s a lot going on that can be hard to deal with.
Children’s Minnesota is sharing tips to help parents cope with changes during the pandemic.
It’s important not to forget to care for yourself when you are caring for your family. A healthy parent helps to create a healthier home. And you are worth it!
- Take time for yourself to do something relaxing or something you enjoy—during kids nap time, before kids wake up or after they go to bed. Take a few big breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Eat healthy meals and snacks.
- Be active when you can.
- Never underestimate the power of a good laugh. If things feel tense, take a brain break to be silly, wiggle, play tickle monster or tell jokes.
- Recognize when you need a break from social media.
- Practice giving yourself and your children grace. We are coping, adapting, and adjusting to tremendous change.
Create a routine
Routines bring a sense of normalcy when the world feels topsy turvy. Keep routines in place when possible, or start new routines. For example, if you and your child are working and learning from home, make sure everyone wakes up in time to get ready for the day, get dressed and have breakfast before starting work or online school.
- Consider making a visual schedule your kids can check off throughout the day. This helps kids to understand how to plan their day, what the expectations are for their home classroom, and will especially help those visual learners.
- Build in brain breaks, recess, and healthy snack times
Try new activities
Be creative when trying new activities and exercise, and try to get outside as much as possible. You can even spend time outside when Minnesota winters set in, just be sure to dress for the weather.
Some activities can even be done virtually. If you can’t spend time with friends and extended family members, there are many ways to interact virtually. Try using a video calling app—like FaceTime, Skype or Zoom—to connect.
Prior to the pandemic, social connection happened easily by attending school, going to work, participating in extracurriculars. We didn’t have to plan, it just happened! Those things may not be happening in 2020. Now we need to be intentional about connection. Identify who those important people are to you and your children, think about how you can safely and regularly connect, and put it on the calendar!
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It takes a village to raise a child after all.
- Your children’s teachers can give tips to help with online learning.
- If you have new or worsening symptoms of anxiety or depression, talk to your health care provider. They can help you talk through those feelings and find a way to help them
Children’s Minnesota also has many resources to help during this difficult time: