Parents in Canada are now facing a change in their daily work/home routines due to COVID-19. Now that schools, daycare and most workplaces have closed, children and parents are always at home.
Here are some ideas and tips that can help parents and caregivers to adjust to this new and unexpected situation.
Support and engage with your children
- Have quality one-on-one time with each child when possible
- Help your child stay virtually connected with their friends, neighbours and extended family members through email, phone calls, video chats and social media platforms.
- Create a flexible but consistent daily routine while involving your children!
- Eg: set up a schedule that includes structured activities, physical activity, as well as free time.
- Play and engage with your children. Spend time with your children by taking part in their preferred activities.
- Eg: If you are not in quarantine (self-isolation) or isolation, get fresh air while keeping a distance of least 2 metres from other people.
Be kind, calm and patient with your children’s behaviours
- Listen to your child’s concerns and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings.
- Encourage positive behaviours, give positive instructions and praise for your child’s efforts!
- Be a positive role model.
- Take steps to calm down before you react. Children may respond to stress and anxiety by acting out. They need you the most when they are misbehaving.
- Before you respond, take three deep breaths or count to ten. Staying calm helps you stay in charge of the situation.
- If you can safely leave your child, take a step back from the situation to calm down, and reassure your child that you will be back.
- Respond in a calm and thoughtful way, and redirect your child’s attention to a good behaviour.
Take care of yourself
- Take care of yourself through eating well, getting rest, taking breaks and doing fun/relaxing activities.
- Connect virtually with others. You are not alone. Find support and relieve stress by talking about your feelings and concerns with your friends and family.
- Recompose yourself. Practice a one-minute mindfulness activity. Notice your thoughts. Notice how you feel emotionally. This will help you relax and feel grounded.
It is normal if you or your children feel overwhelmed, stressed, confused, scared or angry during this time. For additional support, or someone to talk to about your feelings and concerns, reach out to:
- Kids Help Phone
- Canadian Paediatric Society – Community-Based Supports for Parents
- Families Canada – Family Support Centres
- Crisis Services Canada – Resources and Supports
- Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
- Support for individuals
- Provincial and territorial resources for COVID-19
For more information, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/parenting-during-covid-19.htm