Parenting was always hard, now its even harder.
Here are some tips to make it easier:
First off, as a parent, I need to tell you something especially important. It is okay, to not be okay! Nobody signed up for this. We did not plan for this, there was no time to prepare. It is okay to be struggling. It is okay to be stressed out. It is okay to feel emotionally overwhelmed. It is okay to feel mad, sad, and scared.
It is also okay for your child to feel the exact same way. As a society, and as parents we often put this heavy pressure on ourselves, to be super parents, to have “perfect families. We don’t tell anyone when we are struggling, and we hide it, or we play pretend to the outside world.
If you think you should be, or anyone should be rocking this situation, think again, we are all struggling. It is easy to post pictures on Social Media of our family doing cool things. That is awesome, I do the same thing sometimes. However, the truth is, that we only post the best 1 hour of the day.
What about the other 23 hours of the day, that we do not post about?
We do not post a story about when we are crying, or when our kids are crying, or when we are arguing over cleaning up toys or getting our teen off the phone by shouting at them!
My point is that; we are all struggling with adjusting and adapting to Parenting in a Pandemic. One thing that creates overwhelming stress and anxiety is sending our children to school.
There is no “right’ decision as a parent right now. Sending your children to school and activities comes with stress for you and your children. Homeschooling your children and not sending them to activities comes with stress for you and children. (CHECK OUT MY OTHER BLOG ABOUT HOME-SCHOOLING TIPS)
As a parent, there are many things that you can not control right now, this pandemic was not in our plans, it is a once in a lifetime type of situation. You can not control what your government, your neighbour or what your child’s school is doing, you can only control what you do.
The conversations that I have been having with parents revolves around just making the best decision possible for your family. I encourage parents to sit down and write out the facts, the positives and negatives and then make the most effective decision you can, not from a place of emotions but logic. Then move forward and prepare yourself for a whirlwind of emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and guilt as you move on.
There are two scenarios playing out for parents right now depending on where you live. School or Home-school? What’s the old saying: “Stuck between a rock and a hard place” This situation would fit into that.
It is scary to send our children to school, it is stressful and creates anxiety for us the parent. It is also scary for our children and they will be anxious and stressed out as well. Your children will be looking to you as the parent to guide them, as their compass on how safe or unsafe school will be.
Your child wants to feel safe, as a parent you can help them do this, you can not control if they get Covid-19, but you can control the messages that your children receive from you about Covid-19.
There can be 2 extreme types of messages that you can send to your children right now:
If you are constantly watching the news, reading the news on your phone and talking about COVID-19, your children will take on this anxiety and stress from you and they will feel unsafe, and school will be a struggle for them.
If you are saying this is a hoax, the government is wrong, and masks are stupid and this is all stupid, your children will pick up this feeling of mistrust, anxiety, and anger from you and school will be a struggle for them.
I believe there is an effective parenting middle ground in terms of what message to send to your children:
- Educate your children about what is going on and how to protect themselves.
- Teach them to do what is right for them, not what someone else tells them is right or wrong. Teach them and role model for them how to handle themselves at school and with peers.
- Inform your child, that other parents, their friends, other children, and teachers will be stressed out and emotions will be running high, generally when people are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they look for someone or something to blame.
- Talk to them about what they are feeling, and what you are feeling. Acknowledge OUT-LOUD that school will be different this year, and it will be harder and less fun than in past years.
- Let them know its okay to not be okay at school, but you will be there for them when they get home to listen to them and talk about any stress, anxiety or emotions they felt at school.
- Focus on Providing a healthy, safe, and secure Parent-Child relationship. This will help make back-to-school easier.