We are all human and our responses to our current situation vary. Some have hunkered down and sorted through their new reality in a way that has motivated them to complete tasks and put new goals in place. Others have become increasingly overwhelmed and feel like they have no control over their lives at all. It’s important to note, however that there is not a right or wrong way to respond to what we have been presented with. It solely depends on each individual person and how they cope. And as parents are working to navigate their own emotions, they must also help their children manage their feelings.
When parents normalize feelings and show empathy, children are more receptive to creative ways to manage the current situation. Helping children establish behaviors that will meet their emotional needs while also giving them more balance in their daily schedule is important. What parents can do is begin implementing the last four, of eight, parent tips to support their children’s emotional development during this time.
5) Encourage Self-Discipline: When irritation is the driving force of our feelings, it’s hard to do things exactly as we are expected to. These are the times, however, that coping skills can be extremely useful. Helping children develop ways to deal with their strong feelings can help them now and in the future. Parents should take time to prompt children to develop some coping skills and then compliment them when they apply them.
6) Maintain Routines: While our “normal” routines have been upended by the pandemic, we’ve been forced to create new habits. And although many children are continuing to adhere to the new routines, others have created habits of procrastination and crazy sleep schedules. Having days to do “nothing” is okay, but maintaining some sort of consistency in a child’s life is key in helping them re-acclimate to their typical routines once things are back normal.
7) Utilize Technology: Parents typically try to limit their child’s time spent on devices. Currently, doing this is not realistic. In addition to using technology to talk to friends, children are completing their schoolwork online. For children that are used to a traditional classroom, online school isn’t as fun. Finding ways to make learning fun at home will relieve some of the frustration children are feeling and build more motivation.
8) Stay Connected: Although we are stuck inside, there are still things that must be done. Anything from cooking meals, cleaning the house, to work, responsibilities are constant. However, parents should utilize the extra time that they have to make stronger connections with their children by providing their undivided attention. It is also important to allow children time to virtually connect with their extended family and friends.
It will be a long time before we know the effects of this isolation. The good thing is that children are resilient. By implementing the 8 Parent Skills in a way that addresses the emotional support children need right now, parents will help children come through this pandemic with strong emotional stability and a more positive outlook on future obstacles.