Top 10 Tips for Parenting in a Global Pandemic

  1. Be kind to yourself and those around you. Some ways of coping are more helpful than others but most people are doing their best to cope with an extremely difficult situation.
  2. Talk to your children about what is going on, and for older children explain that living with uncertainty is hard but not impossible and that you can get through this together.
  3. Let your children develop ideas about how to use their time productively over this period rather than setting all the activities and tasks yourself. Even for children and teenagers, a sense of control over their lives is important in reducing anxiety and challenging behaviour. For younger children, let them choose activities including play (e.g. pretend cafes) which they find fun, and inject learning into those activities by stealth (introduce counting in paying for the fake cakes).
  4. Get to know your children better and in particular how they think and learn differently from you and each other. You’re not expected to know this already just because you are their parents as this is what teachers focus on whilst you normally focus on caring, working or having fun with children.
  5. Get a weekly routine going separate from the weekend routine, to reduce the risk of becoming low and overwhelmed by social isolation. Remember, different family members could have different routines which respects individual differences. Some children can only focus on a task for 5 minutes and some for 30 minutes even when they are siblings of the same age.
  6. Lower your expectations of yourself and others. Parenting is difficult and parents judge themselves all the time and feel judged by others. No one knows the best way parent through a global pandemic, but there is advice out there (see my resource page) about what ways might be most helpful.
  7. Set realistic goals for your family over the next few weeks.
  8. Take your realistic goals and share them with family and friends and ask them if they think they are realistic.
  9. Now break down your checked goals into smaller goals and think about the steps it would take to achieve these mini goals; these last ones are the first ones you might like to focus on, so that you are more likely to succeed.
  10. Keep HOPE in mind.
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