A Survival Guide for Parenting During the Coronavirus
Like many families across the country, you wouldn’t be alone if you’ve faced huge changes—and challenges—since the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded earlier this year. From caring for your toddler full-time to homeschooling your older children, parenting during the coronavirus is unlike anything most parents have endured before. While it may require extra patience and flexibility, we share some tips in this article that can help you and your family members make it through your quarantine time together.
Seven pandemic parenting tips to keep your family sane
1. Create a routine to keep everyone focused
Under stressful circumstances, both children and adults typically work better when they have a structured routine to follow. If you’re a working parent, it likely won’t be possible to recreate a routine that mirrors your child’s regular school schedule. But setting up any type of regular routine—whether that’s breakfast at 9 a.m. every day or a daily reading lesson at 4 p.m.—will help your child manage the other unknown factors this time. You may find that the schedule changes every day, but having some sort of routine for your child may be helpful for everyone.
- For older children, try writing their schedule on a whiteboard
- For younger children, ask them to draw pictures of their own daily schedules
- Don’t forget to write your own schedule down, with important meetings noted if you’re working
2. Don’t forget to break your routine for some silliness
A little dose of whimsy and fun can stave off monotony and break any tension that has built up in your household. It’s also not realistic to expect that you’ll maintain the same routine every day during a pandemic. Instead, give yourself and your family a little grace and have a living room picnic one afternoon, or an impromptu trivia challenge. Or, simply give everyone a break to play or watch a show and do their own thing when times get tough. That’s okay, too.
3. Use technology for good
Is there a cause you and your kids are passionate about? Or maybe you’d like to make a difference and help those affected by COVID-19. Whether you want to help the frontline responders, restaurant workers, or small businesses that are suffering during this crisis, you can use crowdfunding to fundraise as a family and help those in need. You can start an online fundraiser within minutes, raise money, and connect with supporters without ever leaving your couch. This could be a special way to help your children show their empathy and compassion for others while staying indoors.
If you’re a single parent or part of a low-income family, you might be in need of fundraising yourself. There are many other reasons you may need some extra financial support right now, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your network during a rough patch—they want to support you and help you and your family get back on your feet. Read about how to get started with these fundraising tips.
4. Let your kids explore educational sites and apps
If you’re a family that has traditionally restricted your children’s screen time, you’re probably finding that you’ve had to rethink many of your policies. Now that we’ve moved our lives indoors, we’ve also moved almost everything online. Instead of fretting about how much screen time your children may be getting, use this quarantine as a time to leverage technology for education and as a way to stay connected to loved ones.
There are countless educational resources on the web. Let your children know that they can have more screen time if they’re using an educational site, like one of these:
If you need some resources for yourself, the World Health Organization created a guide on healthy parenting during COVID-19. It includes information on how to stay positive and manage stress with your children, how to talk to your kids about COVID-19, and how to keep your kids safe online. It also includes different suggestions for different ages, from toddlers to teenagers.
5. Turn everyday activities into learning opportunities
If you’ve been tasked with homeschooling your children during a global pandemic, you’ve probably already realized that you can only do your best, given the circumstances. Homeschooling might look a little different as you try to balance it with your own work, daily chores, stress, and anxiety—especially if you’ve never homeschooled before.
If traditional learning isn’t working for younger children, try incorporating learning opportunities into everyday activities. Nature walks can become simple biology lessons, and making cookies can become a quick lesson in fractions.
Further reading: How to Raise Money for Homeschool Costs
6. Carve out time for togetherness
In these stressful and uncertain times, setting some time aside for a family activity can help ease tension and bring your family closer together. Here are a few ideas you can try with your family:
- Start a garden together, or take the simpler route of planting a few potted plants
- Take turns reading a book aloud to each other, then discuss each chapter
- A family movie night is a low-key activity that’s easy to plan and execute
- Put a puzzle together as a family
- Organize family cooking nights. A different family member can choose the dish each week
- Daily check-ins: Ask each person in your family their favourite and least favourite part of their day
7. Remember to find little moments for yourself
To be there for your family during this difficult time, it’s important to take care of yourself, too. Be sure to do something every day that brings you joy, even if it’s something small, and learn how to protect your mental health so you can stay as strong as possible.
Come out of the pandemic as a stronger family
Raising children isn’t easy, and parenting during a pandemic is especially challenging. Remember that we’re all in this together, and that there are ways you can give and receive help right now. Sign up to create a fundraiser through GoFundMe, and help other families affected by the coronavirus, or raise money for your own family.