Updated: Dec 11, 2022
The once peculiar COVID-19 is now a global pandemic that is affecting everyone. Many government agencies have taken measures, such as social distancing, to stop the spread of the virus which has resulted in parents staying at home with their children and homeschooling them.
With all of the breaking news along with the social media frenzy, parenting at home from sun up to sun down can add to the chaos. Many of us are now teachers, a nanny, mom and dad all wrapped into a continuous loop as social distancing continues.
As a stay at home dad, I’m fully aware of the adventures that come with spending more time with our children as well as the challenges. I have a five year old son and a six year old daughter; they can be best friends or fierce adversaries at any given moment. Staying on top of everything and everyone will require a great deal of patience, resolve and strategy.
This advice is geared for toddlers up to middle school aged children. Teenagers are another topic altogether; however, some of the techniques below make work for them as well.
Here is a list of ideas that will aid you during these irregular times of our lives.
1 Have a schedule
It’s easier said than done but the best way to keep your children productive and to mitigate boredom is to keep them on a regular schedule (which is supported by professor of pediatrics at McGovern Medical School). Literally write down the activities you intend to have your kids do and how long they will do it for.
When dealing with children, some flexibility will be required; however, the better you keep them on a schedule the easier the day will flow, best case scenario. The more in advance you can create the schedule ahead of time the better.
2 Use a reward system
Working from home is not exactly easy for us adults. Imagine how much more challenging it must be for our children. They are within arms reach of their favorite toys, video gaming system or mobile device at all times.
Therefore, you may have some difficulty persuading your child to honor your schedule and the parameters that have been set. A little incentive can go a long way.
If your child is having a tough time concentrating with school work or keeping the noise to a minimum while you work, use their favorite snack or hobby as leverage. For instance, in exchange for their cooperation with reading, completing school work or keeping their room clean, you can reward them with an hour of gaming or watching television. You know your children the best so use a reward that will get them motivated.
How to use rewards? Check tips from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
3 Scheduling tablet time is very key
There are different opinions as to whether children should use tablets at all; most certainly, we do not want our children to overindulge with this privilege.
4 Family time
The current state of the global economy and life in general is critical. There has been major financial loss and loss of life as well. You should want to designate family time with your children. Everyday for at least 30 minutes to an hour, each family member should try to be as present as possible in a family discussion. Be sure to put away the cell phones.
If you would like to make the family time more playful and light hearted, entertaining the family with a game is a great idea. You may consider Candy Land, Uno, Checkers or any myriad of fun games that will get the family laughing.
5 Quiet time
Given the stress that homeschooling may create, a designated quiet time during the day is essential. The best case scenario will be that you can lay your little ones down for a nap and take a moment for yourself to decompress.
If your children have matured out of the napping stage, quiet time should still take place, if only for 15 minutes. Older children can be given a small task to take care of by themselves that will keep them occupied and quiet.
If you’re having trouble setting up or sticking with a designated quiet time due to the lack of cooperation from your children, do not forget to employ the rewards system for good behaviour shown by your little ones.
6 Positive thinking
As leaders of the household and role models to our young ones, it is imperative that why try to maintain a positive outlook until the current global situation becomes more clear. It is very easy to settle into despair and our children will pick up on this emotion.
For the sake of their mental well being, try practicing positive by logging all the things there are to be grateful for. There is always a silver lining in every situation. Try to continue to find your happiness. Meditation, yoga and prayer are great practices for gaining a sense of calm.
7 Making time for yourself
Be sure to spend time doing what you enjoy as well. Now is the perfect opportunity to enjoy your at home hobbies, catch up on a favorite series or read your favorite genre. You definitely do not want to use this time to absorb social media or any media for that matter wholesale.
While making time for yourself, do something that you enjoy that will take you out of the current uncertainty that surrounds the world. It is prudent to stay informed but not inundated.
Using scheduling, a reward system and making time specifically for yourself and your family are paramount in keeping a peaceful environment during the current state of social distancing.
Do not hesitate to connect with other parents online and share tips and techniques with each other. If possible, you can also let your children communicate with some of their friends online with your supervision.
We’re all in this together and can utilize the community as a means of emotional support.
If you find this article is helpful and you want to help others too, just share it in any social media (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest)
About the author:
Johnson is a full time dad with a five year old son and a six years old daughter. He knows parenting first hand and love being a dad and writing about his experiences. Johnson was graduated with a bachelor degree in Journalism at University of North Georgia, United States.