These are confusing times. And as you might have heard from every public figure on the planet, unprecedented too. Nobody knows what to do, because the last time a pandemic struck was in 1920. And during that time, medicine hadn’t reached the heights it has today. So, right now, we are dealing with a pandemic the way we know best. Nothing is perfect, but everyone gets cut some slack. We slowly realize who the real pillars of our society are.
Not our billionaires or our politicians or our bankers. It is our healthcare workers, our deliverymen, people handling minor food delivery and services. While yes, these jobs are taxing and are high-risk because they are essential, there is another job that is going unrecognized. Parenting. Parenting has always been a full-time job. But with the pandemic upon us, parents don’t know how to handle their children for 24 hours a day. They don’t know how to make them understand the importance of all the precautions to be taken. Right now, we can’t cut some slack, but we could make their jobs easier for them. Here are some tips and tricks on how to parent successfully through the coronavirus pandemic.
Explain To Your Children What Exactly Is Going On.
The pandemic obviously will be a tough discussion. Having a serious conversation with your child, however, is very important. The way this pandemic has progressed, it is without a doubt that in a few years, maybe a decade, kids shall be learning about it in their history textbooks.
The way you need to break it to them, however, for obvious reasons, is different for each age group. Small kids from the ages of 3 to 6 don’t need to know about the pandemic in detail. You could use stories to simplify things. You could use the ‘germ story’: create someone like the boogeyman – a germ man, presumably. Tell your kids that he is roaming outside homes and will catch people who don’t wear masks or wash their hands for 30 seconds. On days of complete quarantine, you could tell them that he will find anyone who is outside.
For older children, you can explain the actual scene, glossing it over a little bit. Emphasize the importance of following precautions like washing hands, wearing masks, not touching your face with your hands when outside. Do not force it upon them. Teach them gently, and then show them to inculcate it in their daily routine by following them yourself.
A small disclaimer: If you are performing intensive cardiovascular activities, such as running, jogging, or lifting something for a long time, we would advise on not wearing the mask. It goes without saying for both children and adults. The masks, obstruct breathing up to a certain amount and your lungs become highly pressurized and could get severely damaged.
Involve Them In Interesting Activities.
This advice goes for all age groups—even adolescents. School’s out for a few months, and no child is going to sit and study the syllabus taught at school. Use this time to play games with them. These games could be brain teasers to jog their brain, or chores disguised as games to help you. If you have more than one child, turn your game into a competition, hopefully, without any bad blood after the game.
Teach Them The Street Smarts.
Sit with your children and teach them life sciences. If you have a garden, teach them to garden with you. Show them all the creepy-crawlies, teach them to identify them, research about them. Teach them to distinguish between the poisonous and non-poisonous ones. This pandemic has stopped school, but it can’t stop learning.
A lot of parents forget that the school while trying its best, doesn’t provide a holistic education. Sit down with your children, teach them about taxes, businesses, collateral, and the works. You could teach them about the stock market, or about your money. Teach them how student loans work. A lot of children have no clue how they work, and when the times come, companies like Navient completely rip them off. Teach them about real-world issues. Do not enforce your views on them. Provide the information you have impartially and let them make that decision for themselves.
Use This Time To Bond With Your Children.
Our lives are very hectic. You are filled with our jobs, parenting our children, their classes, and extracurricular activities. We have all been living a fast-paced life for a while now. With the pandemic, it is like everything has come to a full stop. So if you are in a position where you can count your lucky stars, take this for what it is—a break. Do your duties, work from home, and stay happy. But more important than that, take a breather. Take a break for yourself, and enjoy it when your kids do too. Make games for your kids, and play them also. Keep the phones and laptops aside for some time and give your child your complete attention.
Make a blanket fort with your kids. You could cook cookies and popcorn with them. Snuggle into the pillows underneath the blanket fort and watch Disney movies with them. It is an uncertain time, and your children are bound to be scared and confused. They can’t meet their friends despite not having to go to school. Everybody is wearing masks, and the news is showing nothing other than Coronavirus stats. Spend some time with them and set some normalcy to their lives. Take a break yourself. Make sure that both you and your children get adequate sleep.
Do Not Forget That The Pandemic Doesn’t End As Soon As The Vaccine Is Administered.
The pandemic has put a stop on almost all kinds of services. Only essential ones run now, and when the lockdown lifts, a lot of things are going to change. The economy has suffered a great hit, travel is risky now, and everyone is hard-pressed for money. Show kindness where you can, and show your kids to do the same. This pandemic is going to have long term consequences, and your children shall either see it or read it when they grow up. Teaching them to give and accept gestures of kindness prepares them to live a compassionate life later on. And your children shall only imbibe and learn from what you practice. Close your eyes, and have faith. It shall soon go away.