The 7 Secrets To Parenting During A Pandemic: Get back to the joys of parenting!
Hey, I’m Syd and I’m so happy that you’re here. I’m sure that I am not alone in feeling like this year has thrown me for the biggest loop. Between having to face the stressors of daily life and being completely uprooted from our daily routines, there is no way that our parenting skills haven’t taken a hit. But as a pregnant mama, chasing around an energetic two year old while managing a busy schedule, I am here to offer my secrets on how I keep it all together even while the world as we know it has changed.
So here are the top 7 secrets I have discovered on my journey to navigating motherhood during a global crisis!
Secret #1: Develop a routine and stick with it!
There is no better comfort than knowing that even while you have no idea what to expect from the outside world, you can take comfort in knowing what to expect when it comes to the running of your home.
Make sure to develop a morning and night time routine so you can start and end your day with order and consistency. And make sure to work some Me-Time into this routine as well. If that requires you getting up 30 minutes to an hour earlier then do it! It will eventually become second nature and you’ll be grateful to yourself later.
Children also love order. Although its hard to tell by how haphazardly it seems like they go through their day, they find comfort in knowing what to expect from their day. So provide them with consistency.
Secret #2: Schedule in DAily outdoor activity!
Oh the wonders that fresh air will do for a tired mama and an energetic child. Being cooped up in the house all day, everyday is bound to make anyone a little batty. (We all learned this first hand during lock down.)
There are so many free options to get you and your child the fresh air that you need to work into your schedule a welcome escape from the four walls of your home. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or take your baby to the park! Even playing in the backyard is a great option! Get some sun for you and your little one.
Secret #3: meal prep!
I am sure I am not the only one who dreads that daily decision of what to make for dinner. It is definitely a decision that becomes a mundane part of daily life but causes a lot of underlying stress as well.
Like most mamas, I have an extremely fussy eater. Right now my son would eat a diet composed completely of french fries, hot dogs and pizza if he could. Obviously this is less than a balanced diet and combing the stress of finding something that my toddler wants to eat with deciding on daily meals for my husband and I can get overwhelming at times. Make your days a little easier and save yourself some extra time by planning out your meals. Pinterest has tons of meal prep ideas for any diet type and plenty of quick quick toddler approved meal ideas as well!
Secret #4: Answer The Questions That Your child has about the pandemic!
Children are brilliant and extremely inquisitive as they learn to navigate the world around them. There is no doubt that they are fascinated by the new changes in their environment and the way that people interact now. Acknowledge these interests accordingly.
Make sure you take their interests in their changing environment seriously and answer their questions in effective and child friendly ways. Explain to your child about why they now have to wear a face covering or why their schooling is done remotely now. Put your children better at ease by letting them know why these precautions are in place and assure them that these new changes aren’t permanent.
Secret #5: maintain important relationships with loved ones!
Interacting with family members that are outside of our homes looks a lot differently now. This change no doubt impacts your children as well as yourself. Finding new innovative ways to adjust to this change will become comforting to both you and your child and help you both regain a sense of normalcy.
You may have family members who immuno compromised or a part of at risk populations such as the elderly and during this time you have found that you are unable to spend the quality time with them that you used to. This can definitely have a negative impact on your household so finding safe ways to stay in touch is a great option for you and your little ones. Plan socially distanced trips to visit loved ones (incorporate them into outdoor play time). Schedule weekly game nights on zoom or other fun video chatting platforms. Although the time together with loved ones looks differently it is still important to maintain that sense of family.
Secret #6: teach your child pandemic safety protocol!
We all that good hygiene is at the bottom of a kid’s list of priorities. Nevertheless during this trying time it is important that we instill in them proper safety habits to help protect them and those around them.
Teach your child the proper way to wash their hands in order to keep the germs at bay. (I taught my son that we sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice when we wash our hands to make sure we are washing them for the right amount of time. It is also important to teach your children that it is important to wear face coverings when out in public in situations where you can not maintain 6 feet from your peers. They may not completely grasp these habits at first but watching you model safe behavior will eventually influence them as well.
Secret #7: GIVE YOURSELF GRACE!
Parenting is hard enough under normal circumstances let alone during a global crisis. Cut yourself some slack mama!
In order to be the best parent that you can be and give the best version of yourself to your children, you have to take time for yourself as well. What is your self-care routine? Don’t have one? We definitely need to change that.
It is important to take at least a little time for yourself everyday. You can’t get lost in your role as a parent and as much as I take pride in having mom as the greatest title I have, I can’t lose sight of the fact that I was Sydney first. And you can’t lose sight of who you are outside of being a parent either. Take time daily or weekly to devote to your passions and interests. Work out, pray, write, read, anything! Pour into yourself so that you have something to pour into your children.