Parenting is no easy task. It is hard enough when there are not any lockdowns or quarantines. Now that we are in the middle of a pandemic, parenting has gotten much harder. Parents are now expected to not only raise their children, but make sure they attend online school and keep them busy. This may mean looking for activities to do at home and making sure kids get enough exercise.
On top of these new duties, parents are expected to cook, clean, work, grocery shop, and perform other errands. It is enough to make a mother or father crazy, especially if they are a single parent with joint or sole custody of their children. On top of this, children pick up on the added stress their parents are facing and tend to act out, making parenting even more frustrating.
There are a couple things you need to do as a parent. First, you need to learn how to cope so you can control your feelings. Everyone has seen their lives change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so you need to learn how to adapt. Constantly yelling at your kids is not the best way to go about it.
The other thing you need to do is find ways to keep your kids entertained. This can be hard with schools operating online, businesses shut down, sports cancelled, and restaurants not open for dining, but there are still things you can do that you may not have considered. Read on to learn more about parenting during the coronavirus pandemic.
How to Cope
Parenting during the pandemic is not easy, but as a parent, you are expected to have it together. So, how do you cope without getting drunk by noon? First, acknowledge how you are feeling. Are you scared or anxious that your kids will get sick? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you getting by one day at a time? If so, that is OK. Sharing your feelings and experiences with friends and family can be helpful. If things get too overwhelming, consider reaching out to a therapist. Therapy is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that you want to improve yourself.
If you work from home, now is the time to set boundaries. When you work and live at home, things get blurred. When you are supposed to be working, it can be hard to get tasks completed. When it is time to log off work, you may find it hard to relax. Create designated areas for getting things done. Have a separate office to work from home, if possible. If you do not, work next to your children so they can watch you model good behavior. When children interrupt your work, get them to do other activities, such as coloring or working on a puzzle. Set a timer for a certain amount of time and when the timer goes off, tell them you will play with them for a while (15-20 minutes). This will give them something to look forward to.
Establish a schedule. Children thrive on routine, so set a schedule where they will get up, eat breakfast, do online school, eat lunch, do homework, play, eat dinner and go to bed. You do not need to schedule every hour of the day, though; allow for some flexibility.
Be flexible with screen time right now. If they want to watch a TV show or movie, that gives you time to work. Let them play video games or surf the internet, as long as their homework is done.
If you have to work from home and play teacher at the same time, let your supervisors and co-workers know. Work out a plan so you can do both effectively.
Make sure you get your alone time. Take some time at the end of every day to decompress and relax. Watch a TV show, read a book, have a glass of wine, or relax in the bathtub.
Things Parents Can Do With Their Children
Despite lockdowns, there are still things you can do with your children. You can look for new places to explore outdoors. Look for bike and nature trails, beaches, and bird watching areas.
You may not be able to eat out, but you can make meals together. Look online for interesting new recipes you can try. Make a pizza with various toppings. Try creating a new pasta dish. Learn about foods from other cultures.
Try a weekly game night. Board games such as Monopoly and chess are fun, but make sure the games are age-appropriate. Older kids may prefer word games, while younger children may like card games and simple games of strategy, such as Connect Four.
Develop an interest in your child’s hobbies. This can help strengthen your bond. If your son likes cars, for example, buy a model car you can build together. If your daughter enjoys outer space, try a model rocket ship.
Create new traditions. Go for a walk after dinner. Spend an afternoon at the park. Have a movie night on Friday or Saturday night. Spend Sundays doing housework or yard work together. Go for a bike ride. Keep an open mind.
Seek Legal Help
Parenting is hard enough for single parents, and it is especially frustrating during the coronavirus pandemic. It is hard to get kids engaged in activities when sports have been cancelled, restaurants are closed, and businesses have shut down.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you with parenting after divorce. Get your custody and support orders in place to make life easier. To schedule a consultation with our office, call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.