Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the quarantine? You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of parents have headed to social media outlets to express their frustrations with balancing homeschooling and work-from-home expectations. And others who’ve been furloughed or laid off are trying to figure out their next move while caring for their children.
Regardless of which category you fall into, parenting during the quarantine can be challenging. To help you adjust to your new normal, we’ve compiled a list of useful tips to help preserve your sanity.
Start your day off with a self-care regimen
Self-care – what’s that? Simply put, it’s something you need to get yourself through this extending period of unrest without completely losing your cool.
Try waking up before everyone else to give yourself the valuable time you deserve. Even if it’s only 30 minutes, you can spend this time meditating or praying, reciting positive affirmations, exercising, reading a personal development book, or doing whatever activity you deem necessary to better yourself. Self-care in the morning also helps you get into the right mental state to tackle the day.
This could also mean you need to put the kids to bed earlier so you can get the rest you need. Some parents are spending a few hours in the evening to pamper themselves.
Communicate behavioral expectations
If you’re struggling with your kids’ behavioral issues, set a family meeting to communicate your expectations. Also, consider creating a behavior chart. Incorporate incentives for positive behaviors and consequences for negative behaviors. Rewards work, according to many parents!
Maybe poor behavior isn’t the issue, but your children keep interrupting you when you’re on a work call? Create a chart that tells them when they can approach you or when they have to wait (barring emergencies, of course).
Create a schedule and stick to it
You want to maintain some sort of regimen so your kids won’t get completely off track. At some point, life as you know it will resume. You’d hate to then spend weeks fighting with your children because they refuse to get out of bed before noon.
Daily schedules should be done ahead of time and not on the fly. That way, your children will be well aware of what’s to come. Just don’t forget the quiet time. For more helpful tips and resources, visit K12.com.
Be honest with your child’s teacher.
Believe it or not, teachers are just as stressed as parents. Many have their own children at home whom they now must homeschool. And some miss their students dearly and are struggling to cope with not having that physical interaction.
So, if you decide to reach out to vent your frustrations about any issues you’re having with the assignments, technology or expectations, try to maintain a pleasant tone. In most instances, you’ll find that the teacher is very understanding and willing to make adjustments to avoid adding more stress to your life.
Spend time together as a family.
Family movie night, anyone? You can also schedule game nights at the end of each week. Everyone can unwind and alleviate all the stress that the past week brought while enjoying each other’s company. You can also support a small business by ordering from a local pizza joint and throwing in a few snacks to make the time even more enjoyable for your children.
Sometimes, a little fresh air is all you need to clear your mind. Sitting inside your home for hours stressing about work and unruly children is enough to take you over the edge. So, spend some time on the porch if you have one. Or consider taking a stroll through the neighborhood or going for a run (while practicing social distancing, of course).
If your kids are up for it, take them with you. Maybe a little outdoor time is what they need to release a ton of energy.
You can create the most rigorous schedule ever and expect your children to adhere to it. The reality is rules may be broken. Similar to adults, children are also struggling to process everything that’s happening as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. If they weren’t homeschooling before, you shouldn’t be surprised if they’re resistant to the idea of sitting in front of the computer for 6 hours a day and not being able to speak with you because you’re working.
Give yourself some grace
Pick your battles! It’s practically impossible to be teacher, employee, and parent of the year simultaneously. The kids may act out, or your boss may dole out unrealistic expectations, but it’s not necessary to lash out each time there’s an issue.
Do the best you can, and give yourself some grace. You’re a human who’s adjusting to sudden, unexpected change. Everything won’t be perfect.
At some point during the quarantine, you may find yourself at the end of your rope. Send the children to their rooms and step outside for a few minutes. Take several deep breaths until you are calm again and in control of your emotions.
A Final Thought
Do what works for you.
If you’re on the brink of a meltdown, don’t add even more stress to your life. You have to focus on providing food, shelter and the other necessities for your family.
You do not have to follow a parenting expert who suggests you make the kids read for 2 hours a day or limit screen time if you don’t think that will work for your family. Life is just different now, but it’s not the end of the world. At some point, life will return to “normal” and we will get passed this.