parenting a child during covid

Parenting During COVID and How to Help Kids Establish Routines

Parenting is normally a demanding and challenging task, but it has become even more challenging during these COVID-19 times. Today, parenting has become more challenging because schools are closed, and most parents are working from home.

That means that some parents have to juggle work, kids, house chores, and many other life demands and uncertainties. Maintaining a balance between all these responsibilities can be quite stressful and anxiety provoking.

If you’re a parent, it is okay to feel angry, overwhelmed, stressed and anxious during this pandemic period. You are not alone. The aim of this article is to make your parenting situation manageable by giving you insights on positive parenting during coronavirus.

You will also get to learn how you can help your child or teen develop a routine, particularly now that they are out of school.

Tips on How to Parent During COVID-19

1 . Take care of yourself

To be a better parent, it is important that you look after yourself and your mental health. Making time for yourself enables you to recharge your batteries. Self-care makes parenting easier because it helps you regain your emotional and physical strength for when parenting gets difficult.

Some of the activities you can include in your self-care plan include exercising, eating healthy, having adequate sleep and rest, and taking a break from social media, just to mention a few.

2. Seek counseling

Do you feel depressed, overwhelmed, and stressed? Sometimes, self-care activities may not alleviate the stress and burnout of parenting. If you are not able to overcome the anxiety and stress of parenting through self-care, it is important that you seek professional counseling.

A qualified and licensed psychotherapist can help you figure out how to cope effectively with parenting demands. You will also be able to learn how to take care of yourself and your kids in manageable ways.

3. Monitor your children’s online behavior

Much like parents, children and teenagers are now spending more time online. Although the online experience gives them an opportunity to learn new things and socialize, it can also expose them to cyberbullying, and even sexual exploitation.

You can keep your children safe online by teaching them how to spot red flags. Supervise their online behavior by reviewing apps and games before they download. Be sure to use parental controls, and encourage your kids to have open conversations with you. Most importantly, encourage your teenagers to maintain good behavior on video calls and chats.

4. Pay attention to your child’s feelings

Just like you, your child may be feeling stressed and anxious due to coronavirus. Listening to his or her concerns without being judgmental is important. Acknowledging your child’s or teen’s feelings and letting him or her know you understand what they are going through is a great way of enhancing their emotional well-being.

You can make your child or teen feel understood by offering consistent, sensitive and responsive support. That way, you will not only boost your child’s or teen’s self-esteem, and reduce abnormal behavior, but also make your life more easier.  

5. Stay calm

Children tend to observe how people in their environment are behaving. If you are stressed, angry, and anxious, your child will certainly notice. He or she is looking up to you for cues on how to behave.

Being able to remain calm and rational even when you feel otherwise, can help ease your kids’ tension and uncertainty.

6. Help your children establish a routine

When children are in school, they often know what to expect. Since your children are no longer going to school, they may feel unsettled because things are now less clear for them. It is important that you work together to create a tentative day-to-day COVID-19 schedule.

Creating a new routine for your kids will help you attend to your work and home duties with ease, and create structure for your children. Your children will remain occupied, which will in turn, ease their anxiety and enhance the family’s sanity. The schedule should create room for flexibility and downtime though.

Suggestions on How to Help Your Kids Create a Routine

Below are suggestions on how to establish a routine for your kids during coronavirus times:

1. Start small

It can be tempting to want to create an extensive schedule that will keep your kids occupied as much as possible. However, it is important that you take things slow. Your goals should not be too ambitious. Start small so you can be able to assess if the schedule is working for your child as expected.

2. Review the schedule with your kid

Take time to examine whether the schedule is working as per your expectations. Be sure to involve your child in the review process. The idea behind engaging them is so you can help them internalize what they must do, and letting them know when they can take breaks to play.

3. Set sleeping and waking up times

Adequate sleep is paramount to your child’s mood and overall well-being. However, your kids are likely to have sleep problems due to the anxiety and disturbance of coronavirus.

It is important that you help them sleep better by introducing a consistent bedtime and wake up routine. The schedule should be similar to their regular school-time routine so they can be able to adjust accordingly when they resume physical school.

4. Encourage your kids to dress up

It is important to create a Monday to Friday routine where your children get up, remove their pajamas, and wear daytime clothes. The dressing up routine should also take into consideration other grooming activities including washing face, brushing teeth, combing hair, or even taking a full shower.

Such a routine will kick start your child’s mood, and prepare them to face a new day. If your children are old enough, you can encourage them to dress up independently.

5. Create a meal plan

Although it might prove difficult, it is important that you kids eat at certain times. You can help your children maintain a healthy eating routine by scheduling time for meals and snacks. Try to make the feeding routine similar to their regular school time routine.

If possible, you can involve the kids in preparing day-to-day menus, or even meals. This enables them to take charge of what they consume, which could also encourage them to maintain healthy eating habits.

6. Schedule time for classwork

If you home school your kids, morning hours are the best for completing school work. This is because your child is still fresh and well rested. You can schedule less demanding activities like drawing, music, or playtime for the afternoon.

Your child should have a specialized workstation during class hours away from outside noise, TV, and family.

  • Other activities you should remember to include in your coronavirus schedule include time to catch up with friends via phone, time for screen time, time to read novels or story books, and even time to help with house chores.

Isaac is one of the co-founders and the current CEO of Joon with years of parenting research and testing under his belt.