The Challenges of Pandemic Parenting and What You Can Do
Children in foster care come from difficult and diverse backgrounds, often experiencing uncertainty in many aspects of life. Pandemic restrictions and social distancing guidelines are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19 however, these regulations create challenges that can negatively impact foster children in several ways. It is important for foster parents to understand these challenges and help guide their children through these troubling times.
Pandemic restrictions, quarantines, and business closures impact our daily routines and schedules. These routines are vital for the stable development of children therefore, it is important to maintain some form of normality during the pandemic. Parents can do this by developing a routine that reflects normality, creating a safe and structured home environment for children and families. Key daily routines to maintain include but are not limited to, wake up and bedtime, mealtimes, educational time, and play time.
Social distancing is a crucial part of slowing the spread of COVID-19 however, the lack of social interaction can revive past feelings of isolation that can negatively influence foster children. As a foster parent, it is important to be aware of the influence of this lack of visitation and help your children maintain connections with family. With the use of technology, friends and family can virtually spend time together while safely maintaining social distance. Planning virtual activities appropriate for different age groups, such as arts and crafts time for younger children, shared movie time for older children and virtually watching a sports game together for adults, is a great way for everyone to stay connected and safe. Encouraging this virtual interaction helps children and families maintain stability and normality by allowing children to remain closely connected to family despite the social distance.
The pandemic is a stressful time for all of us. The fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic can upset foster children by reminding them of more difficult times. It is important for parents to recognize this and realize children look to them for safety and security. During these troubling times parents must connect closely with their child and guide them through the negative thoughts and feelings they may experience. By connecting closely with children, parents can maintain an understanding of how the child perceives the pandemic and the challenges we face. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests parents talk openly, honestly, and directly with children about the pandemic. Stressing the importance of wearing face covering, social distancing, washing hands and staying home to help protect themselves and their family. Acknowledging how children feel and discussing it with them allows children to develop an understanding of the situation that provides them with security and peace of mind. Using positive reinforcement and providing lots of love and support is a great way to help children feel more stable and secure at home during this difficult time.
TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES
As caregivers, it is important for parents to take care of themselves. Maintaining physical health, normal eating and sleeping habits, as well as finding ways to relieve stress to ensure personal stability are all important ways parents can help themselves manage the stresses of everyday life. When feeling overwhelmed, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking a moment to think over the situation. Taking a pause to clear the mind can make it easier to address the situation in a positive and productive manner.
POSITIVITY IS KEY
Children look to parents for guidance, especially during these tough times. As parents, we must lead by example. It is normal to feel stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed in the midst of this pandemic however, it is important to address the challenges we face. Celebrate the little things, make new family traditions, connect with one another, and never give up on being happy. Together we can get through this difficult time. When children see parents being positive in the face of adversity, it inspires them to do the same and helps replace the fear and uncertainty with hope and resiliency.
Every act of positivity will reduce stress and make it easier for everyone to worry less.
To learn more, visit our website TFI Devoted to the Strength of Family.