So you’ve found yourself at home 24/7 with your young children. Maybe you’re all used to going to school and work, and now everyone is home. Maybe you have a spouse who usually takes care of the children while juggling what seems like a hundred daily tasks and now you’re getting a glimpse of what their day-to-day looks like. No matter the circumstances, all parents need to maintain mental wellness in order to take care of their children. Having to quarantine is already stressful, and parenting 24/7 is even more challenging. Here are a few tips to get you through this challenging time.
Retain your child’s daily schedule as best as you can. Keep their regular waking, eating and sleeping hours the same. Maintain their school work during normal school hours. Sameness can lessen the impact of the emotional and cognitive adjustment that is required during a big transition and change.
Know that it is normal and common to see more behavioral issues arise in children when change occurs. They might not know how to properly express their feelings, cope with them and adapt in such a situation, so it is up to you to model these steps for them. Help them to label their emotions, reflect your own feelings and validate their experiences. Respond as kindly as you can, so they know you’re there for them in spite of their behaviors.
Keep them active
This is an opportunity for you to engage them in different art projects, learning activities, coping tools and other household activities. Give them opportunities for learning, such as googling worksheets and handouts. Have them express their emotions in writing, playing and artwork. Let them play in the front or backyard at least once a day.
Involve them in what you’re doing
If you’re doing daily tasks and household chores such as laundry, cooking cleaning, show them how you’re doing it and why you’re doing it. Give them a small chore and make it into a game or fun activity that they might enjoy. Any chance you have, make it a learning opportunity that they will feel important about.
Connect with your child
A lot of times parents may become sad at the thought of their young child growing up so quickly. Now that you are granted the gift of time, it might actually feel more overwhelming than you expected. Although this may be the case, remind yourself of why you wanted more time with them in the first place. Talk to them, play with them, read to them and be present with them.
Theresa Cao, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with the Mission Hospital adolescent mental health program, ASPIRE and specializes in working with the adolescent and young adult populations and their families.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence News Team