Thoughtful Parenting: Parenting through COVID-19
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Overnight, we have been forced into a starkly different world with new norms. Each of us is experiencing unique stress, but collectively, anxiety and fear are palpable. I am not here to feed that, but rather to acknowledge our present reality and to provide you with practical ways to parent through this unprecedented time.
Right now, as a parent coach, educator and mother, I want to emphasize that our physical, emotional and mental health are the priority. This is a time that requires a lot of grace, patience and forgiveness. Be gentle with yourselves, your children and loved ones.
5 ways to parent with grace
1. Be mindful of your news intake and how you talk about the news.
Our children, even at a very young age, understand more than we realize. Fear and anxiety suppress the immune system and short circuit our ability to learn. Ask your children what they’ve heard to correct any misinformation, and share what they need to know to keep them safe, according to their age. Consider your sources, limit your intake and set boundaries for when and how often you allow yourself to access the news. Have your spouse, partner or friend help to hold you accountable.
2. Establish new routines.
Suddenly, everything we’ve ever put in place in terms of routine, structure and rhythms are obsolete, yet our needs remain the same. Schedule a time to create and outline new routines. I suggest making a schedule of your daily flow with your child. If they are not reading, make a schedule with pictures and only incorporate major transitions. Right now, being supermom or superdad is not the goal; be realistic, offer yourself and your children some grace and go slowly. This is not a time to feel pressured to create Pinterest-worthy activities for your child.
3. Create time to ground and connect.
Now more than ever, we need to dedicate time to be present with our children and to find ways to ground and get back in our bodies. With our new stay-at-home order, some people are working from home, and it’s incredibly hard, if not impossible, to be present with your children. Brainstorm a list of things that bring joy that you can do alone and as a family. Creating a mindfulness practice that you do with your children can be incredibly nurturing, particularly right now.
4. Allow yourself time to express all emotions.
As the parent, it’s our job to set the tone of our home. Our role is to be the grounding, calm force in our children’s lives, and yet, we are all living with our own worries about this pandemic. You are going to have hard moments and days. We are human beings. Give yourself time to release worries, concerns and fears away from your children.
5. Express appreciation
After you’ve acknowledged hard feelings and emotions, I challenge you to notice and pay attention to your blessings. At the end of the day, you could share with your child ways they made you laugh or smile. Take stock of the warm sunshine, fresh air and any other small moments of peace you may have felt during the day. The psychology of hope and gratitude have profound impacts on our physical, mental and emotional health.
If you or someone you know are in need, Care Coordinators at the Health Partnership are here to help. Please call 970-875-3630. Care Coordinators can help connect you to:
- Emergency assistance funds
- Food assistance
- Transportation resources
- Mental health resources
- Medical care
Hannah Gooding is a parent coach, intuitive energy worker, mother and educator. She has a Masters in educational psychology and has been working in education and social service settings for more than 15 years. For more support, find her on Instagram at @hannahallengooding or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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