To all the parents out there, take a bow – parenting during a pandemic is tough on everyone. From home schooling your kids (just give the teachers all the money) through to trying to reassure them during these testing times, it’s been a minefield – which is why nanny agency Red Robin has pivoted to offer parenting coaching courses, after noticing there was a lack of quality support for parents.
They help with issues such as transitions back into the workforce, dealing with the anxiety around change in circumstances and generally needing someone to talk to who understands.
Red Robin Education Manager and Parent Coach Lauren Severs says Covid-19 has been both positive and negative when it comes to the impact it’s had on kids – but that doesn’t mean it’s been any easier for the parents!
“The positives are that children have benefited from having lots of attention and interactions with their family members,” she says.
“As a result family bonds have been strengthened through an increase in quality time spent together sharing meals and playing games as a family.”
“But negatively, children have had greater exposure to adult problems such as increased awareness about germs, hygienic practices and caution around how to keep themselves safe. Social distancing has left some children socially unsure and more nervous in nature, thus affecting their behaviour within social settings or transitioning back into reality/the new normal.
“They have had to spend time away from friends and family members, thus missing seeing their loved ones. Children have also had to miss out on enjoyable time spent at daycare or kindy and regular co-curricular activities. Some children have also experienced a change in family dynamics such as parent break-ups or financial pressures due to unemployment of parents, which may in turn have effects on children’s sense of security and behaviour.
“With regards to parents, we have noticed that there has been an increase awareness of children needing support for additional or diverse needs. We have also had increased interest in our nanny and home-based ECE Service due to parents being more cautious about sending their young children into daycare.”
To help keep everything cool, calm and collected (well, as much as they can be with kids!) Red Robin have put together their six top tips for parenting during a pandemic.
1. Maintain a sense of humour
Try adopting a more light hearted approach to parenting by remembering that you don’t have to be serious all the time. It is okay to speak your child’s language by acting silly at times and laughing together, which helps to create a fun-filled and happy home atmosphere.
2. Accept that making mistakes is normal
Perfection does not exist in this world! So do expect that you and your child will make mistakes along the way. Lead by example and learn to be okay with saying sorry when you need to or admitting when you are wrong.
3. Build a strong relationship with your child
Making an effort to develop a strong bond with your child is well worth the investment. The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents. Positive, healthy and meaningful everyday interactions will establish a solid foundation of care and respect, which in turn will help make the challenging moments a little easier.
4. Striving to be a calm parent is key
Being a calm parent means that you mindfully allow your emotions to be present without them controlling you. Children are very in tune with your emotions and behaviour and will often feed off your energy. This could be the reason your baby is unsettled or why your toddler is playing up – they may be feeding off your energy. When faced with a difficult situation, stop and take a full five second deep breath. This will work wonders in helping your body to relax, expel negative energy and help you respond in a more peaceful way thus helping your child to regulate their own emotions and behaviour.
5. Make self-care a priority
Taking care of yourself is an important part of being a good parent. You need to be in good shape yourself in order to give your best, so remember to take time out for yourself. Schedule in activities that will ‘fill your cup’ and leave you feeling refreshed and energised such as going for a walk, doing yoga or having coffee with a friend.
6. Choose quality over quantity
If you are a working parent who may feel guilty about not spending enough time with your child, keep in mind that it’s the special quality moments that count. Setting aside uninterrupted time to take your 3-year-old for their weekly fluffy at the local cafe, to accompany your toddler to their gym class, or to be home for bath time and that special bed time story will be the events that stand out for your child.
Visit redrobin.co.nz to find out more about their parent coaching service. The service contains carefully tailored guidance to suit various family needs and situations, and the main aim is that parents will come away feeling more supported and secure in the knowledge that they are not alone. Parents will also leave more informed and equipped with helpful tips and practical strategies that they can put into place.