The only topic on everyone’s mind is COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. It’s easy to find yourself in an echo chamber with information overload, which can lead to anxiety and panic. By now, most of us know that we must regularly wash our hands for at least 20 seconds, practice social distancing and if you’re sick, seek medical attention. It can be hard to be cooped up at home, but COVID-19 can have a devastating impact on older sections of the population and those who are immunocompromised. This is why it’s necessary we do our part in following government instructions and practise safe hygiene.
Parents are coping with the new reality of having children at home, dealing with homeschooling all the while juggling work and household chores. There are new developments on an almost hourly basis which adds to the stressful environment. Here are easy and tangible ways parents can ease into the current situation:
Set a routine
If you are supposed to be at work at 9 am, and your kids in school by 8 am, then stick to that. Get everyone out of their pyjamas and ready for the day. This will help your family follow a routine, and your kid’s schedules won’t go haywire. More importantly, they’ll know this isn’t a vacation.
Set time aside for “recess” and “lunch breaks” while also ensuring you have time to prep their meals. Try and see if you can join them during this time; it’ll help synchronize your schedules and give you some family time. Come up with indoor activities you can do to break the monotony and avoid getting cabin fever.
If you have a significant other or a neighbour in a similar situation, team up and take turns on how to manage household chores or essential grocery runs. Come up with a schedule on who will tackle certain chores such as laundry, making lunch, helping the kids with homework and who will be the more hands-on adult for the day. This will give everyone a breather and also allow you to focus on other things.
Talk to your kids
They’re bound to get antsy and restless. Have an age-appropriate conversation with them about why we’re indoors, practising social distancing and how we all need to come together during this time. Explain to them that their health and that of their friends and family is paramount and we all need to do our bit to get past this. Keep reminding them to wash their hands regularly, let you know if they have any symptoms and to keep their hands away from their faces. It’ll be hard, but practice makes perfect!
Amidst all this, it’s crucial you put aside some time during the day to focus on your own well-being and mental health. Whether that’s before the kids get up or when they’re in the midst of their online classes, you need to find ways to Re:Set yourself. If exercise is your coping tool and with gyms shut, find a video online you can follow to do at home. If you’re craving a particular dish, try your hand at cooking that — cooking is known to be therapeutic. Find small ways you can take care of yourself during this time whether that’s enjoying a nice cup of coffee by the window or catching up on your reading. You can only show up for yourself and your family when your mental and physical well-being is taken care of.
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