3 Ways Parents Can Better Deal With Stress During the Pandemic
Parents everywhere have been struggling to make sure their kids stay active, learning, and social during the pandemic. But with schools, daycares, and summer schools closed, many have found it difficult to find safe options. Many parents are worried about how' disrupted routines and schedules are impacting their children’s well-being. To help parents deal with some of the more stressful aspects of raising kids during this time, Dr. Lisa Pion-Berlin founded a family-strengthening organization called Parents Anonymous® Inc. based in California.
“Since March of 2020, many children have been socially distancing and banned from other extracurricular activities,” Dr. Pion-Berlin tells CircleAround. “This disconnect from peers will certainly have an impact on a child's psyche. This is causing much stress among parents.”
Parents Anonymous® offers the only localized parent and youth helpline, which provides immediate emotional support from trained helpline advocates. The organization also offers online weekly support groups to people of all ages.
We asked Dr. Pion-Berlin for some advice on how parents can better handle the stress of raising kids during a pandemic.
1. Don’t ignore your own self-care
“Adults need to check in with their own feelings first,” Dr. Pion-Berlin tells CircleAround. “This pandemic is like nothing we’ve experienced in our lifetime, and we need to take care of ourselves first before we can nurture and support children of all ages.”
Checking in with yourself before assisting others (like the airplane rule: “Adjust your own mask first”) will create a more balanced, harmonious solution to challenges in the long run.
2. Observe your child’s habits
It’s natural for children to change their attitudes over time, but if you notice something out of the ordinary, act appropriately. “Many children are experiencing unprecedented fear because of the pandemic which turns into various forms of anxiety and depression,” Dr. Pion-Berlin explains. “Parents and caregivers need to tune in to each child and create a loving and nurturing environment in these uncertain times.”
3. Make time for social occasions, even digitally
Check-in with other family members, schedule a weekly video conference call with friends and get creative with virtual playdates for children. Families will eventually be able to see each other in person, but it’s important to keep the social connections going even when it feels impossible.
“As humans, we all need to feel socially connected,” Dr. Pion-Berlin states. “If remote learning is enforced, parents must embrace this whole-heartedly in order to keep children engaged and connected with one another. This may be much different than being in a classroom, but children are resilient and will bounce back. Emphasizing resiliency is crucial to our mental health.”