7 Tips for Positive Parenting In a Pandemic
When the going gets hard, here are some tips for keeping it positive
Just a few short months ago, I don’t think any of us could have predicted the complications that a global pandemic would have caused in our lives. Just a few short months ago we were all going on about our business, living our lives, oblivious to what was coming. We had no idea how quickly our lives would be turned upside down.
Positive parenting takes on a whole new meaning when there is a silent enemy hiding in all of the places that we once felt safe. How are we to continue parenting our children positively in the face of such a difficult challenge? Many parents are feeling the pressures of the disruption that Covid-19 is causing in our everyday lives. But our children are also feeling that. Our children are also hearing it on the news, seeing the masks on people everywhere they go, and they are feeling frightened as much as we are.
Never has the time been more crucial for us to focus on positive parenting and help our children get through this very real crisis in their lives.
This article is here with some actionable tips for you during this trying time to help you stay positive and focus on the rearing of your children even when times get a little crazy.
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7 tips to help you beat the pandemic stress and keep positive parenting-focused
Try to focus on the positive
It seems abundantly obvious to mention, but in order to practice positive parenting, you have to remind yourself to stay positive. This doesn’t mean that you won’t face obstacles or get frustrated over the inconveniences this pandemic is causing, or experience fear over your current situation which may have changed dramatically due to the pandemic. It also doesn’t mean that you cannot experience a wide range of emotions.
It simply means that you have to make a concerted effort to make yourself stay as positive as possible and turn your energies toward the positive aspects of your current situation that you can find.
Perhaps before the pandemic, you didn’t have very much time with your children. They were always at school and you were always at work and it seemed like you passed each other long enough to settle the logistics of running a family but not necessarily enough time to truly spend time with each other. For many people, the pandemic has changed our everyday schedules and opened up a lot of time to be spent with our children. Time is a precious commodity and when you are feeling frustrated, focus on the fact that you have time to do things with your children when previously you may have not.
Look for the silver linings in your situation and hold onto them. Stay focused on what you are able to do rather than the obstacles or the challenges of your current situation.
The CDC has released some really good tips for managing the stress of this pandemic. They offer a host of helpful resources to help you stay positive, reduce stress, and keep your mental health a priority during these difficult times. Here is a link to the page with all of those resources:
Another really good article by Psychology Today provides some helpful tips for staying positive in this challenging time:
Maintain a sense of schedule
With children at home from school, their entire schedule has changed. It is extremely stressful for children to have such a big change in their world. All of that free time can be a blessing but without some sense of structure, children can experience more stress than necessary.
Try to establish a new sense of schedule for your children that gives them a more grounded and stable experience during a time that is very unstable and confusing.
Here are some tips on how you may do this:
- Stick to a regular sleeping schedule. Have a set wake-up time and a set bedtime so that your children can stick to a routine that provides a healthy sleep schedule and gives their day a sense of order.
- Have set meal times as well to provide structure to their day.
- Being at home all of the time can make children feel a bit lazy. Each day get up and have them get dressed for their day. Getting ready for their day can help them to feel like their time at home is just as important as the time that they used to spend going to school, attending social engagements, or going to appointments.
- If you use a chore chart, continue following this method of organizing household chores. It is important for children to feel like they have things to do to contribute. It is also important for children to have a sense of purpose during a time that has redefined everything about their life.
- It is easy to relax the rules you have set for tech time or television time. While you may want to allow for more of these things right now, it is still a good idea to set limits in order to keep your children focused on their remote schooling and their household responsibilities.
- Set designated times for play and relaxation.
Children may exhibit more erratic behavior, emotional responses, or may test your limits during this time due to the emotional frustrations and confusions that they are experiencing over this whole pandemic. It is a very frightening time for them and they are likely missing their school friends, the activities that they used to do, and the sense of normalcy and security that they had.
Remember that this pandemic is nothing like any of us has ever seen. It was thrust upon our children just as much as it was our lives and our careers. Be patient with your children. They are processing something that even us adults are having a difficult time understanding and navigating.
Take this time to really talk to your children about what their experiences are in this situation. Talk to them about how they are feeling and be open to answering their questions. There are a lot of memes and jokes going around online from loving parents who love their children dearly but make light of the situation by joking about how annoying it is to be stuck at home with their children. Be very careful that your children do not get the impression that you see them as a burden or that you think of them as annoying. This can be very hurtful to children.
Be patient with them as they process what is happening around them and make sure that they know that you are always there to provide the comfort and support that they need.
Positive parenting requires a sense of attentiveness. It requires you to look for those moments to advise, to educate, and to encourage your children to focus on those things that help to develop them into well-rounded and productive individuals. Many of us are now working remotely and need privacy and quiet in order to do our work. Try to balance the need for distance and isolation to get your work done with the needs of your children to have your undivided attention.
Sometimes when children go through a very stressful event they practice more attention-seeking behaviors. If you provide for them the secure environment that they need, give them activities to help structure their day, and let them know that you are available to them when they need you, then you can help to cut down on some of those attention-seeking behaviors.
Give them extra cuddles. Take a bit of time each day to watch a television show with them or dance with them to one of their favorite songs. Positive parenting, simply put, requires you to pay attention and address needs as they arise. You can be there for your children to steer them in the right direction if they get off course with their behavior.
Have a little fun
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun with your children. In fact, it may make you feel better as well. You have more time with your children now than you ever have and you can make this a good thing that they will always remember from their childhood. Everything that is happening can be so scary and simply having a little bit of fun can help to relieve stress, keep the positive energy flowing, and take your kids’ minds off of the influx of negative sensory images that they are experiencing right now. Just think of how scary it is for them to go out anywhere and everyone is wearing a mask! Think about how frightening it is to them worrying about whether they or their parents will get sick.
Here are a few examples of some simple fun activities that you can do with your children during this pandemic:
- Watch a movie.
- Spend some time playing outside.
- Play some music and have a dance party.
- Create a play or a fun video with your kids–complete with costumes, makeup and hair.
- Do a craft project.
- Work on a jigsaw puzzle together.
- Blow some bubbles.
- Clean and reorganize their rooms.
- Cook something fun together like cupcakes.
Give a little
This tip can be taken in two different ways and both are applicable.
First of all, giving makes people feel better. This is a perfect time to help your children focus on those who are less fortunate. Many people are going through a very difficult time and are looking for help to get through it. You can find an online charity to follow with your children. You can help your children go through their old clothing and toys to gather things for donation. If you are raising your children in a faith-based home you can take this time to teach them about the charitable efforts of your belief system. For example, you can work with them on developing a prayer list or praying for those who are less fortunate.
Taking the time to focus outward and look for ways to demonstrate empathy can be a good life lesson to teach your children to focus on the positive when things get rough. I was always taught that no matter what your situation there’s always someone out there who is having a more difficult time. This is not to diminish your children’s experiences. You can honor their own experiences while also reminding them to think of others.
The other way that you can interpret this tip is to give a little as in being flexible and perhaps a bit more tolerant than you normally would be. Remembering again that your children are going through a very difficult emotional time. Being a bit flexible in areas where you are normally very strict may give them a little bit of wiggle room regarding their behavior. It is hard to hold them to the same standard when the rules of the game have changed so significantly. Give in a little. Hug them more. Take the time to establish the security that they need right now. That need for love, affection, reassurance, empathy, and security can take precedence over behavioral expectations for the time being. Showing a bit of flexibility can also help you to stay focused on what is really important right now.
Reassure your children
Positive parenting focuses on looking for those opportunities and teachable moments throughout your day. It is no surprise that when the world seems to have been turned upside down for your children, they will need more reassurance from you that everything is going to be okay. Even if you yourself are unsure and nervous about the whole situation, remember that your children can feel this from you. It can help both of you to take some time to reassure them that although things are different in life and things feel a bit scary right now, this is a temporary situation that we can all get through together.
This is a perfect time to reassure your children of their own inner strength and resilience. It is also a good time to remind them that your family unit is strong and you can weather these difficulties together by keeping positive and being supportive of each other.
These are just a few tips that you can use to try to stay positive and keep your focus on positive parenting when it seems like the world has lost its mind. The family unit and social structure within your home has never been more important. Raising children who can face all of their obstacles and challenges in life with a strong sense of self, healthy coping skills, and determination to make the best of every situation will teach them how to be positive and functional adults.
Use this entire Covid-19 disaster to teach your children that everything they have within them is enough to navigate any difficulties that life may throw their way. Focus on empathy, positivity, productivity, and your familial bonds. Take a moment to see things from your child’s point of view and it will be easier for you to stay focused on what really matters. We wish you the best in this difficult time and as a blogging community for parents, we hope to provide you with materials that will help you navigate this storm. Please see some of our other articles that may help you get through this difficult time.
Christina M Ward is a mom, grandmother, and writer of lots and lots of words. When she’s not busy obsessing over writing poetry and well-living articles, she is out in nature exploring or doing needlepoint crafts in front of Netflix. She loves books and reading, learning geeky things about nature, and helping other people live their best life.
Christina M. Ward
Babienet blog contributor
Mother and grandmother
7 Tips for Positive Parenting In a Pandemic provides a helpful guide to parents on how to stay positive and focus on positive parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic.