Raising kids is one of the toughest and most fulfilling jobs in the world – it comes as no surprise that parenting has become even more challenging during these uncertain times of global pandemic that we all are facing now.
Coronavirus (COVID 19) disease has upended family life around the world. With every passing day, stressors like financial strain, health and safety concerns, social isolation, and pressure to provide home-based education and work expectation are building for you. During this time, your children are undergoing the same feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that you’re feeling now! School closure, canceled events, or separation from friends are some factors that may have increased the levels of stress on your child.
Under these stressful situations, you need to remember that a sense of love and connection to your child is critical in mitigating the effects of stress. It is more important than ever to employ positive parenting techniques to help your children feel safe, build resilience, and keep clam at home. But under such times of uncertainty, it has become crucial for many parents and caregivers to practice positive parenting more than ever before.
To tackle these challenges, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has compiled a new set of resources on positive parenting during the COVID 19 outbreak. We’re adding some other resources too, you may find practical as you navigate this difficult time. Read about Diana Baumrind's Parenting Style.
Here are some research-based tools and tips to help your family get through the outbreak.
Get One on One Time
School closure can also be a good chance to make better relationships with your children. Set aside some time to spend with each of your children and ask them to find a niche of their own. Allowing your children to choose an activity they would like to do during this time, will build self-confidence in them.
The duration of one on one time can be just 20 minutes or longer – it’s up to you. You can arrange it at the same time each day so children can look forward to it. One on one time is free, full of fun, and engaging. It can make children feel loved and secure and shows them that they are important for you.
One on one time encourages you to engage your children in constructive activities. Some suggestions for one on one time activities that you can conduct with your children, include: reading a book, looking at pictures, making drawings, going for a walk, dancing or singing songs, doing a house chore together like cleaning and cooking, playing games, helping them with study, watching a movie or talking about their favorite sports, music, celebrities, and friends, laugh and have fun together!
Make use of Positive Discipline
With an increased number of Coronavirus cases and long periods of social isolation, everyone is getting more anxious and distressed especially children who barely have enough appropriate words to share their feelings and emotions. It is essential to know that you’re not leaving your children in a state of distress. Research has shown that when parents are stressed, children are at a greater risk of being abused. During this time of uncertainty, children may show signs of increased levels of stress which can lead to more frustration for the entire family.
To cope with this, The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated the discipline policy and recommends parents and caregivers to use healthy discipline techniques that can help your children manage their emotions and behavior.
One of the most effective discipline tools is time-out which helps a lot in managing unacceptable attitudes of children. Just give them a warning that if they don’t stop they’ll have a time-out. Rectify their mistakes and wrongdoings with few positive words and little emotions and speak to them in a calm voice. This will help them reduce their stress and make them composed and disciplined.
Re-direct Bad Behavior – Avoid Corporal Punishment
By the end of March, COVID 19 outbreak has compelled more than 1.5 billion children out of school. This has extremely disrupted the lives of many children. School closure canceled events, and social distancing from friends has made many children vulnerable to anxiety, sadness, and frustration. Bored or frustrated children are more likely to act out and develop bad behaviors. It’s very important to deal with their sudden behavioral changes in a tactful manner during this pandemic.
To discourage bad behavior from your children, One of the most influential approaches is to direct your attention towards their good bearings. Use rewards and privileges to encourage good behaviors, notice a good act, point it out, and ignore bad behavior as long as the child hasn’t done something dangerous and drag his attention towards good behavior. This can be an effective way of eliminating bad behaviors from your children.
According to The American Academy (AAP), smacking, whipping and forms of corporal punishment risk injury and aren’t effective ways to deal with bad behaviors. Moreover, corporal punishment may increase aggressiveness in your children, and eventually, with this state of mind, they’ll fail to learn how to conduct or practice self-discipline. Research has shown that corporal punishment can harm your child and even interfere with their normal mental health and development. Strictly avoid corporal punishment as it takes away your child’s sense of security and protection, which are highly needed now!
Stick to a Healthy Routine
Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic has completely changed our lives, many of the activities or routines we once had are no longer doable. It’ seems like that our days are aimless. If you’re juggling with it, it's ok you’re not alone.
During times of uncertainty, creating a structured and modified routine is not only essential for children but also keeps adults from feeling swamped and fatigued. Therefore, you need to establish a flexible consistent daily routine with your children. This will create a sense of order to your day and offer reassurance in a very uncertain time.
All children including teens can benefit from these routines that are predictable yet flexible enough to meet individual needs. Some suggested plans and resources on how you can add structure to your days along with basic school work and chores, include: wake-up routines, breakfast and some activity play in the morning, getting dressed, set a particular time of handwashing and hygiene, make homework timetable, break up school work, set proper time for lunch, chores, exercise, reading, family time and some screen time with friends.
At the end of the day take a minute to think about your day and tell your child about one positive and fun thing they did in their day.
Stay Connected – Keep Social Interaction
Social isolation doesn’t mean no “social interaction”– social distancing should not affect our connections to loved ones. Children especially adolescents need to have quality time with their caregivers and other important people they know.
Since non-virtual family get-togethers are not possible at the moment, therefore, make a schedule of regular phone calls video chats with grandparents, relatives and friends, and family. Stay in touch with your work colleagues if you’re working from home.
In this way, children can learn creative approaches to staying connected such as WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google hangouts, and more. Moreover, social connections will develop empathy and a stronger sense of community in your children and help them fight boredom during this social isolation.
Talking About COVID 19 Pandemic
Coronavirus COVID 19 has become a source of daily conversation right now. Due to overload information, rumors, and misinformation, children might find it difficult to understand what they’re watching online or on TV or hear from other people. So talking to them about what’s going on can be challenging for you.
Being a parent and caregiver you might be wondering how to assist your child’s developmental needs and understanding of Coronavirus COVID 19. Having an open, honest, and supportive discussion with your child can help them understand what’s happening, relieve some of their fears and help them begin to cope.
Find out how much they already know about COVID 19 outbreak and follow their lead. Calmly address their fears and encourage a dialogue. Make sure you are in a safe environment and allow your child to talk freely. Use age-appropriate language and be honest and explain the facts in a child-friendly manner.
Most importantly never minimize or avoid their concerns and be sure to acknowledge their emotions and behavior. Give them space and remind them that you care, you’re listening and you’re available to them whenever they feel upset and stressed.
In conclusion, today parents are faced with a challenge unlike any that has been seen during modern times. But you and your child can get through this difficult time by establishing a positive approach. There’re unstated and misunderstood rewards for this social isolation if parents and children can see the advantages of this health crisis we as a community will be able to find new ways to educate and develop our children.
Coronavirus COVID 19 is not the first virus to threaten humanity, and will not be the last. We need to utilize positive and effective strategies to strengthen our families. The next few days will be different and challenging for all of us. But this doesn’t define to be a recession for your family. Take this moment as a good chance to mediate and bring some positive and favorable changes to your ordinary lifestyle.
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