Parenting in a Pandemic

While we are sheltering in place or at least staying home far more than usual with our kids, we are being asked to do so much more than usual. On top of parenting, we are expected to possibly work from home and even teach at home, which adds up to THREE full-time jobs. This is not humanly possible for anyone, so it is crucially important that we give ourselves grace and kindness during this time, as well as adjust our expectations. Here are some helpful steps to take while we navigate uncharted territory.

Make time for self-care.

During uncertain times like these, everyone is afraid of something, whether it be illness, financial distress, or how the world may change. Because of that fear, our windows of tolerance have all shrunk, and we need extra care to stay ok. Even if all you can get some days is 3 minutes in a closet to take some deep breaths, any little bit helps.

Try not to feel guilty about extra screen time.

This one relates to the first one, in that sometimes, screen time is the only way to get self-care. A few weeks (or even months) of extra screen time won't do permanent damage. There are also great educational shows, apps, and activities for kids.

Don't pressure yourself to recreate school.

Your kids can learn lots of things at home, but it is challenging to mimic the school experience. That is ok. Different environment means different rules. Maybe some days your kids work on school for 3 hours, and perhaps other days its 10 minutes of reading. Either way, it is ok. Allow yourselves to adapt and DO WHAT WORKS best for you and your kids.

Try to be patient with moody and emotional kids.

Remember that your kids are stressed/grieving as well, and those feelings often come out as angry outbursts and whining. Just like you, they need a little extra love and grace. They miss their friends, school, teachers, and routine too. They may be reacting to the stress of their parents as well. Kids can be sensitive to our moods and pick up on even small microexpressions and tones we make without noticing.

Make time for fun with the kids.

Even with the world on pause, we still have an overwhelming number of responsibilities. It is critical to unwind together with regular activities that are just fun. Take walks together, have a family movie night, cook a meal together, play charades, have a living room dance party, or read books in silly accents. Laugh together whenever possible. Despite all the other priorities during distance learning and isolation, connection with your family can be one of the silver linings of the pandemic.

As hard as this time is for everyone, we also have the unique opportunity to make some of the best family memories right now. Take advantage!

If you're struggling, seek help. Sharp Wellness can provide support through these uncertain times and help you build mental strength to not only survive but thrive. Contact us now.


Kristin Benton, MA LPC

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