This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.

parenting_covid2

Quarantine parenting tips. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Parenting can be a huge source of stress even under normal circumstances. As we make our way through these pandemic months, it’s crucial to learn from parenting tips that will help you take care of your own mental health, and that of your kids and family.

My library director mom recently forwarded an educational resource to me (a Teacher Resource Guide by ComPsych), which I found full of relevant and helpful parenting tips. She also recommended a documentary which is included in this article towards the middle.

Scroll through the whole article or jump to the section that you'd like to read first:

Part 1: Helping Kids Cope with Change
Part 2: How to Cope with Parenting Stress

Parenting Tips Part 1: Helping Children Cope with Change

covid_parenting1

1. Model Good Behavior

If you’re always anxious and panicky, this behavior is going to affect how your children feel and react. You can be well informed without stressing over headlines or being plugged into the news 24/7. You can do this by setting a limit to your intake of bad news.


Grab our journaling sample worksheet inspired by Optimal Living Daily episodes! You'll get to download it in our private library  🙂


Do whatever you can to keep your family safe and healthy and appreciate the positive things that you have in your life.

This doesn’t mean that you have to fake gratitude, feel guilty for what you have that others don’t, or ignore the troubles in your life. It does mean that you try to see the silver lining in any difficulty you may be facing.

2. Model Healthy Habits

In terms of hygiene during coronavirus times, encourage your child to wash their hands several times a day for at least twenty seconds each time.

If anyone in your family has eczema or psoriasis on the hands, it’s essential to use a fragrance-free soap and gently wash the hands instead of vigorously rubbing them together (note: I have eczema on my hands and switching to a fragrance-free bar soap from liquid hand soap made A LOT of difference!).

Boosting the immune system helps, too. It’s never too late to start eating a more balanced diet with more vegetables and fruits, with regular exercise and sufficient sleep.

You don’t need to go to the gym to do exercise. Here are some exercise tips from Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness on how you can stay active as a family.

3. Follow A Routine

Having a schedule may sound boring on the surface. What’s good about it is that it provides a sense of calm and control.

Having kids at home more often means you need to know how to maintain the calm at home more consistently. Use this time to spend time together as a family. Take on a challenge like minimalism as a family. Other fun activities include jigsaw puzzles, playing memory card games, or starting a small herb or patio garden. You can order a STEAM project trial crate or get one as a gift from a kids creativity site like KiwiCo.

There are tons of easy home DIY projects which explore science. In this post, Real Mom Nutrition explains how the celery experiment can teach your kids about how plants take up water and how fruits and veggies grow.

Housework alone can be a big routine. Scroll down to Part 2 of this article for tips on building a housework routine.

4. Help Others

Working on projects that benefit others helps foster a sense of empathy, community, and charity in your kids.

Do you live close to an old folks’ home? They may not accept visitors for the time being, but they might be open to receiving letters or have penpals.

There are sites like The Letter Project where you can reach out to girls and women who are in need of extra support. Letters Against Depression and More Love Letters are similar organizations where you and your family can make a huge difference from the comfort of your own home.

Bibliophiles: have you checked out volunteering options for book lovers?

5. Your Children’s Mental Health

If your kids show big changes in their behavior like depression, anxiety, or harmful behaviors, reach out to a professional.

Depending on age, kids can also show the following behavioral changes:

  • irritability
  • nightmares
  • withdrawing from social activities
  • poor concentration
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • a change in eating habits

Be aware of what your kids are consuming on the internet and social media. Engage your kids in conversation on what they like and why, or what makes them fearful and anxious. You don’t want them to escape down a negative spiral of low self-esteem and insecurity.

The Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, shows what goes on behind the scenes in social media algorithms that influence your behavior without you even knowing.

* * *

Taking care of your kids is just one side of things. You’ve got to take care of yourself, too!

Don’t sweep parenting stress under the rug thinking that it’ll go away or that you’re a martyr that has to sacrifice all you have for others, all the time.

Having reasonable expectations and establishing clear communication are vital to keep the peace.

The following section explores some of the ways in which you can cope with parenting related stress.

Parenting Tips Part 2: Coping with Parenting Stress

covid_parenting2

1. Reach Out for Help

Everyone needs help at times, and you’re not a failure if you feel like you cannot cope.

If you’re consumed with frustration and feel destabilized, consider parenting teletherapy with a trained professional to help you get to a more positive solution.

Check your state or country for available teletherapy services as some services may be for local residents only. You can also look for free trial or discounted services via state organizations, coaching centers, or therapy apps like Betterhelp.

A parenting community could also be helpful where you can swap tips with other parents on how to handle parenting related stress.

2. Keep a Journal

There are many reasons to journal.

You could use it as a gratitude journal to focus on the good in your life or to develop a strong sense of self-love. You could also use it as a form of catharsis to explore the more difficult thoughts and feelings you might struggle with, and stay positively engaged and challenged in your personal growth journey.

There are plenty of journaling techniques to focus on creating joy, committing to goals, and more.

Simple journal prompts to explore:

  • What’s one good thing that happened today?
  • How can I bring more balance into my life?
  • Do I have any regrets? What did I learn or how did I grow from these bad experiences?
  • Is there anything I need to let go off to live a little brighter and lighter?
  • Was there anything bad that happened today? What is one way I can improve the situation the next time it happens?

Grab our journaling sample worksheet inspired by Optimal Living Daily episodes! You'll get to download it in our private library 🙂


3. Work Life Balance

Having fulfilling work and a personal life are enriching. But if you feel like you’re burning your candle at both ends, some adjustments have to be made for your health and sanity.

A support network is essential, through friends or relatives who are available or childcare programs in your community.

Are there flexible arrangements at your workplace? If working from home is something you’re keen to explore, make that a priority in your long-term career plans.

Saying “no” is also vital to having a sense of balance in life. There are times when everyone wants your time or attention, and you need to know when to step back, particularly if these people are a toxic influence (in which case, you may need to make a clean break from the person and do what’s right for yourself).

Stay organized with calendars or lists. A family calendar that’s easily visible in your home helps everyone to track activities. Schedule in screen-free time if that helps you to have better quality conversations with your family.

A work calendar helps you stay productive and on top of projects, while a household “to-do” list helps delegate household duties to everyone in the living space.

Parenting Tips on Building A Housework Routine

Take a moment to see what your home routine is like and what you need help with.

If you’re swamped with housework and cleaning up after everyone in your home after a full day at work, this is a surefire way to simmer with rage and resentment.

It's invisible labor, you feel unappreciated, and it’s tiring to pack things away neatly only to find new areas of clutter within a few hours.

Establish a routine where everyone in the household shares the household chores. Invest in better appliances if you can to save on time and resources (a dishwasher can be life changing).

Research shows that an unfair division of labor at home hurts your relationship, a situation that quarantining at home brings to the forefront.

The following articles will help you find a cleaning routine that works, and create more fairness at home if it's something that's lacking:

  1. How to Negotiate a Fair Division of Household Work (The University of Rhode Island)
  2. A 5-step plan to reset the unfair division of labor at home during COVID-19 (NBC News: Know Your Value)
  3. What Is The Mental Load? The Invisible Labor Falling On Women's Shoulders (Mind Body Green)
  4. Cleaning Routine Printables (here's a daily cleaning routine checklist by Organizer UK, and checklists arranged by day/week/month from Organise My House)
  5. Age Appropriate Chores for Young Children through Teenagers (Your Modern Family)

Getting your kids involved in age-appropriate house chores will help your kids to learn from a young age that housework is a responsibility. Delegate tasks that your kids can handle. Clearing the dinner table, washing the dishes, cleaning their room, or feeding and lightly grooming a pet are jobs that they can take on so that all of the workload doesn’t fall on just one person.

They could choose to hire a cleaner or housekeeper when they’re older if household chores are something they loathe or have no time for. But that's in the future. It’s a good way to teach them discipline now and how to be respectful of others’ needs in a shared living space.

4. Time for Yourself

Everyone needs a bit of time to unwind. Time for rest balances your emotions and you’ll feel more energized when you return to the things you need to do on a daily basis.

Carve out a bit of time each day for something you enjoy or need to do: exercise, a relaxing shower, listening to your favorite music, a simple but reliable skincare routine. It’s a part of self-care and something you guard fiercely. Hire a babysitter or call someone who can watch your kids if you and your partner would like to plan a romantic date night outside of the home.

Sharing parenting and childcare duties is another way to have more time for yourself. As with housework, the more monotonous parts of parenting shouldn’t fall on just one parent. If you’re married, you probably hoped to have a partner in your spouse. A thoughtful partner would share the workload and this sense of equality starts from home.

A meal prep strategy saves time and means fewer grocery shopping trips or online orders, which again, frees you up with some time to do something else for yourself.

Knowing what causes you stress will help you know your boundaries, and how to avoid them or deal with them in a more constructive way.

Relaxation tips don’t need to be complicated. Practicing slow breathing and incorporating stretching exercises into your daily routine are small changes with a big impact.

As one listener recommended in the celebratory 100th episode of Optimal Living Advice, you could use something like 10 daily push-ups as your daily fitness baseline. Rain or shine, get in these 10 push-ups or sit-ups or jumping jacks into your day. It helps to center you when there’s something you know you can show up for.

5. Better Communication

As the PDF resource guide from ComPsych states:

“The keys to a successful family are having freedom to express positive and negative feelings and working together to solve problems.”

Strong communication that lets everyone feel heard and respected contribute towards a happy home life

Kids are perceptive and easily pick up on negative emotions. Don’t angrily shut them down or change the subject if something they’re asking you makes you uncomfortable. They are going to get information from their peers or something on a screen if they don’t have strong guidance from you as a parent.

And while some ground rules are important, balance is also key. No one likes to return home to feel like they’re going to be ruled by an iron fist. Try to refrain from nagging or harsh criticism, even when you’re tired and on the verge of giving up. Show what fair behavior is so that your kids have a good model of behavior to refer to when they are adults and in their own relationships.

Parenting Tips: Conclusion

Parenting is a tough job and no parent is perfect.

If you feel bad because of seemingly perfect parenting supermom or superdad style posts on social media, stop scrolling and comparing yourself to others’ virtual realities! You don’t know half the story behind an influencer's carefully structured post. As mentioned before, check out The Social Dilemma for an eye-opening look on what social media looks like behind the scenes.

We hope these parenting tips help serve as a reminder to prioritize self-care, in support of your kids’ mental health as well as your own.

References:

Teacher Resource Guide – ComPsych Corporation

Parenting in a Pandemic – HealthyChildren.org


Grab our journaling sample worksheet inspired by Optimal Living Daily episodes! You'll get to download it in our private library 🙂


mm

Jess Chua

Jess writes and edits content for the Optimal Living Daily podcast network. Her interests include personal growth, cooking, and spending time with her pets.
Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on minimalism tips for family members. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join my weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and free tools to optimize your life (and make my day)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Enter your email to get our free Inspiration File on minimizing your wardrobe. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on decluttering sentimental items. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on getting started with minimalism. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter paper. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter books. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to help kids learn to declutter their toys. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on the bare minimum of items you need when moving. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on why financial literacy is important. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on overcoming money fears. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Enter your email to get our free PDF debt payoff tracker. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on maintaining your level of motivation. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on what to do after a deep tissue massage. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to counter sitting at a computer all day. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to stick to your budget. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on getting over a breakup. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Enter your email to get our free PDF with health and fitness quotes from Optimal Health Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Enter your email to get our free PDF with tips on how to spot -- and get out of -- a toxic relationship. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration, quotes, life tips, and more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

A Brand New You

Join our weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and productivity tools to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

OLD Podcast: Library

OLD Podcast: Library

Enter your email to get your password to access our handy library. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on improving your personal finances. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Enter your email to get a sample of our journaling worksheet PDF with quotes and templates based on Optimal Living Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!