Parenting and working from home through Coronavirus
There is no magic solution to the unusual situation we find ourselves in. The outbreak of Covid-19 has put many families into uncharted territory.
There are intentions and habits we can put in place to make the most out of this time and to make sure we all stay whole and healthy as families and as a community.
We’ve created a guide to help you stay connected with your entire family’s well being. This guide includes:
- Parenting tactics by age
- Setting realistic expectations
- Relationship upkeep
Be gentle with yourself and your kids.
Nothing will feel perfect at home.
This is an unprecedented situation for you and your family. It is not possible to work full time, parent full time and homeschool. We invite you to reset the expectations you have of yourself.
Find a time at the beginning or at the end of the day and write down answers to the following questions:
- What are your expectations of yourself as a parent?
- As a professional?
- As a spouse/partner?
- As a homeschooler?
- What are your expectations for your children?
- Of your spouse/partner?
- Of your coworkers?
Take a look at your answers. Are they reasonable given the circumstances? If you’d like support, ask your spouse/partner or a close friend to review the expectations with you and help you adjust things if necessary.
Relationship ground rules
01. Your employer
- Talk to your employer.
- Be clear about your current situation, how you can contribute and when.
- Tell them what you need from them
02. Your spouse/partner
- Do it daily.
- Know all feelings are normal and talk to them about all the feelings you are experiencing.
- Talk about your energy level and share the parenting responsibilities.
03. Your children
- Be with your children.
- Make time to play with your children. This should be part of the daily schedule.
- Be present when you are with them. Nurturing them will give them the confidence to be more independent so they will feel comfortable giving you space when you need time for self-care or work
- When your children are acting out, they are asking for your help. Empathy is important.
New Habits and Routines
Establish routines to support your entire family (remember, be flexible!)
Start with a daily family meeting. Plan the day together. What do you want the day to look like and how will you achieve that plan?
- Be consistent with meal, nap and bedtimes. Routines bring predictability and safety, especially during times of change or uncertainty.
- Build in play time, quiet time and work time. Children are not accustomed to studying all day. Schools incorporate play time, quiet time and work time. As a parent managing all these responsibilities, you will need breaks as well.
- Build in self care. It should be daily. A quiet moment or activity that allows you to feel whole and decompress before the children wake or after they go to bed. Practice self-compassion.
- Experiment. Make mistakes and find what works.
Focus on the present.
You can control how you live moment-by-moment and day-to-day. You do not have control over the future though. Trying to predict or control the future is fuel for anxiety. Let’s stay in the moment together!
- Focus on the present and on creating a safe and calm environment in your home
- Ensure your children are supported, well, busy and loved
- Make sure you and your partner communicate and spend some time listening to one another’s experience (at least 10-15min a day!)
Activities to bring you to the present
- Walk around and look for things that start with A or B or are a specific color (this brings you and your children back to the present)
- Talk about what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste (a tour of your five senses in the moment). This will help all of you laugh more and stay in the moment more.
A healthy body supports a healthy mind
Rely on healthy habits
- Stay hydrated
- Eat nutritious and consistent meals
- Exercise (take that daily walk)
- Have fun. Dance with your family, play, sing, color
- Do small things that bring you joy
- Give yourself news and social media breaks
And more…age specific tips
Newborn to 24 months
Work during nap times. Put the baby in a carrier to have access to your hands and work, attend calls or do work in the house. Place a tummy time mat next to you while you work. Play soft, enjoyable music.
2-5 years old
Create a cozy corner for them to play in, in eye’s view. Have a box or bag of special ‘toys’ they don’t normally get to play with that you bring out when you need them to be occupied, such as when you have a call or an important email to write. Be ready to take advantage of the moments they are occupied in their own activities to squeeze in work.
6 years +
If you have a younger child, make a sensory bag. This can keep them occupied for a while. For older children, have engaging games and activities ready. Do work together at a communal table. Keep each other company. For children who are old enough to complete their own school work, keeping them near allows you to keep an eye on them and help them when needed.
Olivia Bergeron, LCSW is a psychotherapist and parent coach who founded Mommy Groove Therapy & Parent Coaching to help parents navigate the huge changes that come with having a child. Whether you’re experiencing a sense of overwhelm, stress and anxiety during pregnancy or after having a baby, or you’ve run out of ideas about how to manage your toddler’s (or big kid’s!) tantrums, Olivia works with you to create lasting change. She does this by providing clients with therapy or coaching or a hybrid of both.
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