“I’m giving myself a lot of grace, and I encourage other parents to do that as well.”
-Nathanna McGivney, Regional Director, Cumberland County Outpatient & Community Services, Spurwink
In a short amount of time, so many parents and caregivers have taken on new roles and responsibilities in their households, as children are in homes rather than physical classrooms. For some, that may include juggling childcare, homeschooling, working, or any combination of these. With so much going on, how do we support our children during these uncertain times?
Do your best to keep routines in place. Consistency and structure are very important and reassuring to children during times of stress. Try to keep the same mealtimes, bedtimes, and other activities on a schedule that makes sense to your family.
Encourage questions and help them understand the current situation. It’s important to answer children’s questions in an age-appropriate way and address any concerns or misunderstandings they have. Explain things in a way that makes sense to them, like being “germ-busters” to help keep people safe.
Help children connect with friends and loved ones. Technology has made it increasingly easy to virtually keep in touch. Consider having grandma read a bedtime story to your child or having a “play date” with a friend through video.
Spend time together. Just because you’re in the same house together doesn’t mean you’re spending time together. Help your family engage in fun and meaningful activities consistent with your family’s values.
Celebrate milestones. Does your child have a graduation coming up this school year? What about a birthday? Celebrate it far and wide! Host a video party, decorate, make yummy food, but be sure not to let those milestones slip away. Now is the time to celebrate and bring joy whenever possible.
Take care of yourself. You are who your child/ren look to for comfort and reassurance. Try to limit your anxiety and news exposure. Self-care is very important right now. And remember to give yourself a break!
As always, if your or a family member would like to talk to a trained professional, you can contact us at The Link at 1-888-889-3903 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also search here for a clinician near you: providers.spurwink.org.
- World Health Organization: Parenting in the time of COVID-19
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Michael Thompson, Ph.D., Child Psychologist, Facebook page: @michaelthompsonphd
- Nathanna McGivney’s recent interview: Help!!! I’m stuck at home with my kids. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=594006467853031