Why do we need specific parenting advice during stressful times? Well, during the last two weeks, my 7-year old son has been a bit more defiant than usual. Although he loves school it was very difficult to get him engaged in our homeschool routine. I obviously thought it was simply the disruption of school life as they know it until we did a lesson discussing the reason for them having to homeschool.
They have heard about the coronavirus and knew all about washing hands and social distancing. But, only after we watched a video on how the virus works and how it can affect people, did it surface that he was actually very anxious about this pandemic on a larger level than I realized.
He admitted that he was not only worried about his immediate family but also about his school friends, our family members living abroad, and even the ongoing supply of his favorite foods! All of a sudden I understood his meltdown last week when I refused to take him with to the grocery shop resulting in a full-blown war with me acting in a not so healthy parenting manner …
Then I realized that living through a pandemic, like the COVID-19 outbreak we are facing currently, is not only stressing me out but also my kids. And if we want to survive this thing with the minimum mental and emotional distress, we need to learn how to handle things better. We need to find the best parenting advice to learn how to cope during these unusual times. And in my search, I discovered an awesome resource from Parenting for Lifelong Health (PFLH).
They have created what they call COVID-19: 24/7 parenting guidelines. And they did this in collaboration with trustworthy sources like the WHO, USAID and UNICEF. Meaning that we can follow these guidelines knowing they are reliable and backed by science. Read on to find tips on how to practically implement this advice to ensure strong family relationships during stressful times. And to avoid falling in the trap of practicing parenting skills that is neither healthy nor sustainable simply because we are anxious and under pressure.
Healthy parenting advice
Time to discover the best parenting advice to cope during confinement and learn exactly how to talk to our kids about the coronavirus without creating panic or anxiety. Including a free COVID-19 guide with facts, activities and additional resources to help you and your kids to understand the coronavirus pandemic in an easy and fun way.
FREE POWER RESOURCES
- grab your free COVID-19 guide
- watch the 5 minute COVID-19 video
- read the post on how to teach your kids about the pandemic, including activities and fact sheets
How is this parenting advice different
from what we head every single day of parenthood?
Confinement is not for the faint-hearted. Neither is it natural circumstances we are exposed to often.
And knowing how we should react to unfamiliar situations experienced these days are not easy. As parents, of course, we all do our best. But put our entire family together in one house, 24/7 without being able to visit friends, go outside, go shopping or even visit your favorite bookstore or shopping mall, and you have a recipe for disaster …
Not because confinement is punishment (even though some days it feels like that) but because it’s an unnatural situation we don’t know yet how to handle best. And the only way to prevent this ending in a disaster is to get empowered with knowledge and know-how to handle the situation effectively.
So it’s time to kickstart this empowerment by looking at healthy parenting advice specifically needed at times of confinement. Parenting for Lifelong Health and the WHO advocates the following 6 tips for better parenting during the outbreak
- one-on-one time
- stay positive
- structure up
- how to handle bad behavior
- keep calm and manage stress
- talk about COVID-19
UNICEF recommends similar advice, simply stated differently by suggesting the following 6 ways parents can support their kids through the COVID-19 outbreak
- keep calm and proactive
- stick to a routine
- let your child feel their emotions
- check-in with them about what they’re hearing
- create welcome distractions
- monitor your own behavior
I used these recommendations from PFLH, WHO and UNICEF and collated it into a practical guide with the best parenting advice to help us all take charge of this unfamiliar situation and make the most of this challenging time. Empowering us to keep ourselves and our kids safe and healthy.
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Turn social distancing into distant socializing
I read this clever line on some ad and although I can’t remember where I saw it, the slogan really appealed to me. Because I believe that the only way to get our anxiety over COVID-19 under control is to
- understand the reality
- have a way to stay connected with friends and family to be able to share our feelings and emotions
The majority of human anxiety stems from the fear of the unknown and being in isolation. So fighting this pandemic means we need to first start learning the real facts and not only the scary stuff social media shares. And secondly, keep reaching out to others to satisfy our need for social interaction.
HOW WE CAN BEAT THIS PANDEMIC
So fighting this pandemic means we need to ignore the scary stuff social media promotes and learn the real facts. And secondly, reach out to others to satisfy our need for social interaction and preserve our sanity.
While I will answer to this first need and provide you with all the resources to understand the reality of COVID-19, and maybe even share a sanity-saving tip or two, I highly recommend you stay connected with your community, friends and family members to further rock the distant socializing part.
And one of the best ways to do just that is by starting your own online means of sharing advice and personal experiences. Expert mom blogger, Suzi from Startamomblog.com can help there. She has brilliant solutions to get your blog started in no time so you can stay connected and have the opportunity to also help others.
Healthy parenting advice during times of confinement
Time to have a look at those 6 best parenting tips to help us all stay safe and sane through this difficult period being homebound. We will keep the recommendations from PFLH, WHO and UNICEF in mind and add additional tips, activities and resources to help you get the most benefit.
be calm and proactive
Asking us to be calm and proactive is a tall order. Inevitably we will all experience some degree of stress and anxiety as we live through this pandemic.
WHO: keep calm and manage stress
UNICEF: keep calm and proactive
A big part of our anxiety arises from the fear of the unknown. We don’t know what to expect or how to handle these unfamiliar situations. So the best we can do is
- expect to be anxious
- know how to deal with our anxiety
- learn how to channel these feelings of overwhelm
- know how to keep everyone calm and
- how to stay in control
acquiring all these skills will result in being able to stay calm and be proactive. But no-one says it’s going to be easy.
DOING OUR BEST
As long as we do our best and handle these difficult times to the best of our abilities, it’s enough. No one expects us to be perfect. During confinement, more than ever, there’s no one watching your actions, no one judging you or comparing you to others. But this should be a motivation to do our very best rather than an excuse to drag our feet.
Take actions and follow the links provided here and learn how to be calm and proactive and able to help your family cope in the best way possible.
A large part of the anxiety experienced during this time is due to a lack of understanding of the situation. So be sure to stay informed, learn about the coronavirus and help your kids understand it. You can find everything you need to know and share with your kids about COVID-19 in this free guide.
The WHO and UNICEF recommend breathing and relaxation exercises to help us stay calm. You can check out their one-minute relaxation activity here and also try
- listening to your favorite music
- making time for yourself
- inspirational coloring
- creating a solid self-care routine
create and follow a practical routine
Now more than even our kids and us, need to create a flexible daily routine. The experts recommend we include structured activities like schoolwork, chores, and exercise but also free time for independent play. Although screen time can be useful during distance learning we still need to control and limit it.
WHO: structure up
UNICEF: stick to a routine
Even when kids are not able to spend as much time outside or with friends, unlimited screen time is still unhealthy and other activities should be advised. Consider
- educational games and toys
- board games
- brain teasers
- we use and LOVE the train your angry dragon books, these books are perfect for baby to 12-year-old kids
MY SECRET TO STAYING SANE
Our first three days of confinement was chaos. With no time to prepare ourselves for this lockdown, as we were only informed the Friday before, that schools will be closed from Monday onwards and we have to start homeschooling immediately. Our initial thought was to take it day-by-day and make plans as we go. But we were not able to pull it off, as all of a sudden having everyone at home trying to work, do homeschooling and all the chores like cooking and cleaning, seemed an impossible task.
So after surviving a meltdown on day three, resulting in us yelling at our bored and defiant kids, we made a plan. We created a daily routine to make sure the kids’ days are structured, making them feel comfortable knowing what lies ahead. And thus relieving a lot of stress for all of us. All of a sudden the much-feared chaos and disruption of confinement turned into an opportunity for
- spending time together as a family
- building family relationships
- teaching the kids new life skills like cooking and cleaning
- sharing knowledge
Realizing our daily routine is saving our sanity and limiting everyone’s stress and anxiety, I immediately re-instated my own morning routine. I started to get up half an hour before the kids and follow this kickass morning routine.
Spending these 20 minutes wisely prepare me for whatever lies ahead and helps me cope with the daily load and demands. And I can really see the difference in my patience levels and energy compared to the days I don’t get to do it. You can easily enjoy the same benefits by creating your own healthy morning routine. And it’s super easy with the free checklists and printables below.
- read all about my kickass morning routine
- grab a free copy of the morning routine checklist with bonus affirmations and
- even discover my 5-minute emergency routine for those unexpectedly crazy days
Having a routine will obviously not magically remove all the stress from confinement, but it’s a solid starting point. And the benefits were immense for us. Leave a comment and let me know if it’s also helping you? I will share an example of our routine soon and when you grab your free morning routine checklist and automatically receive a copy of the family routine checklist as soon as it’s ready!
ensure emotional well being
Experts advise we have empathy and support our kids feeling sad about canceled events and activities. Make it part of your daily routine to spend at least 10 – 20 minutes of your time with each of your kids. This should be one-on-one time where they can discuss their feeling and fears with you.
WHO: one-on-one time
UNICEF: let your child feel their emotions
PFLH also recommends you engage in an activity of their choice and they have some great options, by age, on their parenting guideline printable.
It’s especially important to help our teenagers through these difficult times and ensure their emotional wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you with that during your one-on-one time
- encourage questions
- make sure they have the whole picture and not only what they see and hear on social media
- be truthful
- limit social media interaction and viewing of news broadcasts or join in, as not understanding fully can easily lead to panic and anxiety.
- provide your teenager with relevant factual data as their overactive imaginations can often create anxiety by fearing the worst instead of facing the true facts
encourage good behavior
The WHO and UNICEF suggest we model good behavior ourselves and use distraction and age-appropriate consequences to encourage good behavior. Here are some great discipline tips to help you do that.
WHO: how to handle bad behavior
UNICEF: monitor your own behavior
Here’s a quick summary of a couple of noteworthy discipline intentions according to age. It’s super useful to help you practice effective discipline at any age.
1 TO 2-YEAR-OLDS
A solid discipline approach is necessary to ensure your toddler is
- not harming him or herself
- safe from feeling abandoned
The best way to practice discipline in this age group is to always stay with your toddler and use attention redirection.
This is a great resource to effectively discipline your child in the first three years.
2 TO 3-YEAR-OLD TODDLERS
This is the time when most of us feel frustrated and doubting our discipline methods.
Simply because your toddler begins to fight for power, autonomy, and self-assertion. This is normal toddler behavior … so don’t fight it, embrace it …
Take back control by
- setting limits
- establishing routines and
- using reassurance and
- short verbal explanations
3 TO 6-YEAR-OLD PRE-SCHOOLERS
Approval and praise are very important here. Pre-schoolers need consistent rules and routines. Avoid long-form verbal explanations as you are wasting your time at this point. Rather use
- attention redirection
- suitable consequences, following directly after the misbehavior
6 TO 12-YEAR-OLD KIDS
Conflicts arise in this age group due to the need for freedom and autonomy. Consistent rules and consequences are essential. The best tips to discipline a child at this age a using positive discipline strategy
- encourage good performance and
- avoid judgment
13 TO 18-YEAR-OLD ADOLESCENTS
Your adolescent is sure to
- challenge your family rules
- accept peer practices as the most relevant
- demand independence
The best way to practice effective discipline in this age group is to
- be there for your teenagers, even when they seemingly don’t want guidance and approval … they do!
- avoid power struggles and long verbal explanations
- stop expecting the worse
- set age-appropriate rules
- enforce logical consequences that teach accountability, responsibility, trust, and self-control
And what happens when rules are disobeyed?
Click here for a great free discipline resource and read more about effective discipline tips.
Being positive is standard parenting advice. Not only during these difficult times but as a rule, we need to
WHO: stay positive
UNICEF: create welcome distractions
During times of confinement, effective parent-child communication is essential. By acquiring effective communication skills from us our kids
- develop confidence in speaking about their ideas and feelings and
- discover and appreciate the importance of listening when others are speaking
- and learn how to respect different views and opinions and understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak
COMMUNICATION BUILDING BLOCKS
Here are the 6 building blocks to effective communication we can practice during confinement
- be on the same level and make eye contact
- give your undivided attention
- be positive, no blaming or bribing
- voice opinions and feeling
- focus on body language
- repeat each other messages to make sure everyone understands
When kids are defiant there is often only one solution. And it’s not punishment. It’s distraction. Create your own bucket list of fun things you can do together as a family and have it ready at times of potential meltdown. Distracting your kids with a fun activity will not only lift their mood but also yours.
Click here for 51 fun and frugal activities to find some inspiration for your own distraction bucket list.
understand the pressure
A big part of helping our kids face their fears and stop worrying is to give them the power of knowledge. When they understand something it’s much easier for them to make sense of their fears and find solutions. And currently, our biggest concern if the COVID-19 pandemic. By helping our kids understand the issues surrounding these difficult times we can help them overcome their fears and move on without emotional harm.
I feel that this is the biggest area with a lack of information from PFLH as they give parenting advice on how to talk to your kids, but they don’t really give you the information in an easy to follow format. So I created an entire guide and all the resources you need to help your kids understand COVID-19 without causing anxiety.
WHO: talk about COVID-19
UNICEF: check-in with them about what they’re hearing
The guide covers all the facts you need to share with your kids to help them learn about and understand
- a pandemic
- how it spreads and
- what we can do to help
- what happens when you get infected with the coronavirus
- and how to make staying at home fun for everyone
And you can access all the COVID-19 guide, facts sheet and video
- grab your free COVID-19 guide
- watch the 5 minute COVID-19 video
- read the post on how to teach your kids about the pandemic, including activities and fact sheets
You need to stay calm and not cause panic in your kids. So make sure you understand COVID-19 before trying to convey the message to your kids and do whatever you can to stay happy and healthy. The easiest way to achieve this is by using reliable resources like the ones above.
Healthy parenting advice during times of confinement summarized
Parenting advice from the experts including PFLH, the WHO, UNICEF are collated into these 6 tips to help us stay safe and sane during confinement
- be calm and proactive
- create and follow a practical routine
- ensure emotional wellbeing
- encourage good behavior
- stay positive
- understand COVID-19
Be sure to grab your free healthy parenting advice checklist and COVID-19 guide to make understanding this pandemic easy and fun.
Leave a comment
and let me know your biggest parenting struggle during confinement. Have you had a discussion over COVID-19 with your kids?
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