I FEEL LIKE A BAD PARENT - LOCKDOWN GUILT
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For parents of toddlers and preschoolers, now is not an easy time to be working from home. Since the Coronavirus Pandemic has settled in and we have now been in “stay at home” mode for a good few weeks, some parents are suffering from the guilt that creeps in as parenting skills are slowly being relaxed. Other parents have also loosened up on things like bedtime, wakeup time, mealtime, and screen time. The experts are not concerned! Easing up on discipline and routines, for the short term, is not the end of the world. Parents have taken on the full load of trying to work, run the household and are running out of ideas to entertain their little ones all day long. Some parents have had to transition to working online, doing video conferencing and Zoom calls and need to keep their #children occupied, safe and out of their hair for a few hours in the day. This is not an easy juggling act, so be kind to yourselves.
"I don't like to think of it as letting children get away with things, but rather realizing that in extraordinary times, we can't always follow ordinary procedures," says Rona Novick, Ph.D., clinical psychologist, dean of Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University, and author of Mommy, Can You Stop The Rain? "I strongly recommend being transparent about the easing up—tell your children that the typical rules are not in effect and provide a reason."
Dr. Novick says parents have taken on a lot more than they can handle at the moment and it's nearly impossible to manage it all. "We cannot be creative, engaged, energetic teachers, playmates, and chefs every minute of every day," says Dr. Novick.
Of course, parents worry that these behaviours will become long term habits, making it far more difficult for parents to get back into their usual routines and disciplines. Dr. Novick doesn't think it should be an issue in the long run. "To the extent that in these difficult times we engage with our children in genuine acts of kindness, in developing habits of gratitude, then any long-term negative effects will be balanced with how we have all grown. As parents, we should just continue to be a reassuring, steady, loving presence" in our kids' lives”, adds Dr. Novick.
As most parent now admit to - “We are 10 percent constructive parenting, 20 percent threats, 30 percent bribery and 50 percent TV”
With all this in mind, try to do:
An outdoor walk or activity each day now that summer is here. Getting the kids out the house and off the screens for a short time each day will work wonders.
Regular healthy snacks will help to break up the day. Let them help you make the snack in the kitchen, don’t worry too much about the mess.
Try to involve them in one creative activity each day, whether it’s coloring, painting or cutting out and glueing things onto a cardboard box or paper.
Build a fort and place some toys inside. This could keep them busy for a while. Give them a flashlight to use inside the fort and they will play for a good chunk of time.
Get them into reading on their own, or even paging through a picture book at least once a day.
Using masking tape, lay out a racetrack for their cars.
Large cardboard boxes can give them endless fun.
Let children have some Facetime connections with Grandparents and friends.
Try to break up the screentime with these activities and perhaps your day will get a little easier. As parents, we need to make sure that our children remain mentally healthy as well as physically healthy while we navigate this new normal.
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