No one has ever claimed that parenting is an easy task, but this year has certainly pushed that truth to the limit. Between COVID-19 quarantine, school closures, remote learning, worldwide protests against police brutality, on top of the turmoil of a presidential election year, parents have been pushed to the breaking point.
Here at Help Your Teen Now, we have received a jump in contact from parents looking for help with their struggling children. While there is no magic formula, as each family’s circumstances are unique, there are some things parents can start doing to make parenting easier during these uncertain times.
Keep Plans Flexible
It is normal to plan weeks, months, even years ahead of time. Parents who have even one child often have a calendar filled with important dates, from school plays to dentist appointments. Yet, with the ongoing pandemic, making and keeping plans can be tough when you don’t know when something will be canceled.
Instead of trying to make concrete plans far ahead of schedule, strive for flexibility. Things like doctor appointments are pretty sure to be safe, but maybe put off the plans to go to a crowded water park.
Find Ways For Children To Socialize Safely
Socialization is an essential part of your child’s development. But, experts warn against gatherings, especially in areas where coronavirus cases are still on the rise. That means parents have to be a little more creative when it comes to helping their children to stay connected to their friends.
Some ways to help kids socialize while keeping safe distances:
- Facilitate video calls
- Encourage snail mail
- Find video games that can be played online or over a closed network
- Watch movies while using a chat app to communicate
- Attend the same virtual events
Prepare For More Effective Distance Schooling
Nationwide, school districts are determining how to effectively provide education to their students while keeping everyone as safe as possible. Some school districts are deciding to go back to face-to-face instruction, while others are pursuing hybrid plans or completely virtual schooling. It is likely that if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, all schools will return to distance, online learning.
To help prevent your child from falling behind in their schooling, there are some things you can implement, such as:
- Learn about how your child’s online classes work
- Get the contact information for your kid’s teachers
- Look into virtual tutoring services
- Set aside time to review your child’s assignments and schoolwork
Even if your child’s school offers face-to-face instruction, last spring’s abrupt switch to distance learning likely left most children struggling with their school work. So, these steps can help even with in-person classes.
Enlist Professional Therapeutic Help
With lockdowns and Stay-At-Home orders still in effect in many states, as well as ongoing civil unrest, high unemployment, and more, parents and kids are feeling the stress. This level of stress and anxiety can fray nerves, shorten tempers, and lead to inter-family conflict.
A family therapist can be a great way to receive tailored advice on how to resolve specific issues and help set up ways to defuse future tense situations.
Also, there are a number of therapeutic resources that combine schooling with therapy, such as therapeutic boarding schools and residential treatment centers. They are available for troubled teens and parents who have run out of local resources to help their children overcome their struggles.
Create Simple Daily Routines
There isn’t much you can control of the outside circumstances, from how COVID-19 spreads to how your child’s school chooses to provide classes. That makes it even more important to establish daily routines for both you and your children.
These routines don’t have to be complicated. Setting structure such as set meal times as a family, time set aside for chores, and other daily tasks can help make you and your children feel more grounded.
Take Time To Decompress
Many parents tend to throw themselves into their caretaking roles until they are at the breaking point. Rather than reach that step, build specific decompression time into your life. It can be as simple as reading a book for thirty minutes a night to having an at-home spa day.
Parenting during these tumultuous and uncertain times makes a tough job even tougher. But, by staying flexible, preparing what you can, and remembering self-care, you can be a more effective parent.