Parenting Through a Pandemic

This time in our lives is uncertain and stressful. In my professional work with children and families, I am finding that parents are having to navigate many different roles due to COVID-19. I’ve had parents tell me “I do not know what to do – One minute I’m their teacher, the next minute I’m their mom and the next I’m the lunch lady and the PE teacher.” Most of the parents that I work with are feeling overwhelmed and trying to take things in stride. I have friends who have been scheduling play dates over Zoom and helping their kids socialize through this technology. I have clients who have their kids doing workout videos with them and it is so great to see! The other day I had a mom tell me how her 2nd grader got on a Zoom call with their whole class to read aloud a book together with their teacher. Zoom shows whatever your device is called and she said the teacher would call on for example “Mary’s IPAD” to read next and you hear all the 8 years old say “Hey mom what’s your name.” Hilarious! Kudos though to the teachers in this time too who are still using the technology to get in touch with their classes. Sometimes we have to look at the humor and awe of what is going on around us. What am I getting at you probably are wondering at this point? Well it’s so important to keep building your child’s growth mindset, because now that you are their teacher, their parent, their gym teacher, lunch lady etc; you are the primary mindset grower!
Below are some tips to keep the growth mindset evolving and not reverting to the fixed mindset so many children have:
  1. Make a schedule, however, schedule some flexibility in it. We all think of scheduled as being very fixed, however, we know that they have to be flexible. Schedule the school day, the activities, and also schedule the free time. And always remind your child the schedule could change and we have to be ready for this.
  2. Offer choices. Now try to limit the amount of choices because we do not want anyone getting overwhelmed, but by offering choices you are helping your child have some control in this out of control world right now. They are experiencing stress just like you are. Their whole schedule and life has been turned upside down too. Just remember that.
  3. Take time to explore. Obviously this is within reason with social distancing. Go on nature hikes in the backyard, treasure hunts in the house, walks in the neighborhood and do not have a prize at the end. Do this with your child and enjoy the prize of just spending time together.
  4. Read. I know this may be something that you already do, but read with your child. Find books that focus on problem solving, different emotions, social skills and ask your child questions about the book. Have an open discussion about different opinions as well. This can be huge in that facilitation of a growth mindset.
  5. Play games with your child. When I say games, I mean board games, card games etc. Take it back old school and off the electronics. Teach your child how to lose and win graciously.
All these tips may seem easy to remember, however, when you have to wear so many hats right now, they are also easy to forget. Remember you are the role model. When you get angry and frustrated, that’s okay, but talk about your feelings. Telling your child you are feeling frustrated right now with a, b or c, helps your child see you are human too and this can be the perfect time for these learning opportunities to help your child see how to handle their emotions in a healthy way. Have fun, stay safe and be healthy!