As any parent will tell you, being a caregiver is the most rewarding job in the world. It’s also arguably one of the toughest—and that’s before a global pandemic upended our lives and routines. That’s why, in partnership with Workplace Strategies for Mental Health and Strong Minds, Strong Kids, we’ve compiled a list of 3 practical strategies for parenting well in unprecedented times.
#1. Reduce stress at drop-off and pick-up
With many children returning to school and daycare, families are back in the routine of drop-off and pick-up. These “transition times” can be tricky. A plan can help you manage these stressful daily events. Give your child a preview of the day ahead. For example, talk through what will happen – what to expect in terms of wearing masks, washing hands and playing with their friends. You can also give your child a sense of control by offering them choices around which mask they’ll wear, or which snacks they’d like in their lunch.
#2. Prioritize a good night’s sleep
Making sure your kids get adequate sleep is easier said than done, but there are some ways you can make bedtime go smoother. Set a regular, consistent bedtime and build in wind-down “chill time” beforehand with a bath, stories or soothing music. It’s also helpful to have positive conversations around sleep, so make sure you talk to your kids about the benefits of rest, too.
#3. Combat “working-parent guilt”
If you’re a parent who is working from home, works long hours, or feels like you’re not fully present when you’re with your kids at home, you may feel guilty. It can be helpful to reframe this negative emotion in a more positive light: it’s actually a sign you care about your family and want to do your best. Let go of the guilt and focus on being present and connected in the time you do have together.