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Thoughtful Parenting: Conducting a COVID-19 reset

Tom Valand
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Hooray, the kids are back at school. Well, sort of. As the pandemic continues, it’s important for us to check in on ourselves and how we are doing. We’ve been able to keep the show rolling so far, but self-care is more vital now than ever, because it doesn’t look like the curtain will be dropping on COVID-19 any time soon. Now is a great time to check in, reset and define your priorities heading into the fall.

Be aware of and act on what you can control:

  • Schedule and structure within your home. You don’t need to plan each minute of the day, nor should you. Something as simple as having everyone eat together for dinner provides tremendous value. Daily group gatherings provide a great environment for kids and adults to feel safe and process what they are experiencing. Kids build up tolerance to stress when it is introduced in predictable ways, such as chores and bedtime routines. 
  • Diet, exercise and sleep hygiene. All three of these items are interrelated and can greatly improve our ability to manage stress. Goals should be realistic and doable — for example, a consistent lights-out time or a daily family walk after dinner.
  • Your attitude. Although we cannot control much of what comes our way, we can control how we react to our experiences. Parents set the tone in the home — your attitude will echo in your children.
  • COVID-related health precautions within your home.

Limit or eliminate focus on what you can’t control :

  • Other family’s COVID-related health practices.
  • Opinions and actions of others including politicians and others that aren’t you.
  • COVID’s implications on the future .

Ask for help if you need it

  • Emotional help 
  • Engage your partner, neighbors, friends and family
  • Mind Springs Health
  • Access community resources (housing, food, transportation, employment, utilities)  
    • Health Partnership of Northwest Colorado 
    • United Way of Routt County
    • Routt County Department of Human Services 
    • Steamboat Springs Workforce Center

Give yourself credit for making it this far

Even if you see yourself as barely holding it together, appreciate the fact that you’ve made it to this point. If you are constantly beating yourself up, redefine what success means to you as a parent. 


Tom Valand is the program coordinator for the Fatherhood Program of Routt County, which provides a number of services to local families including the Parenting in the Pandemic workshop series. For more information about these workshops contact Valand at 970-875-4229, tvaland@co.routt.co.us or visit facebook.com/dadsWZ.


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