Smart Start Central Oklahoma knows that this is a challenging time for families. In addition to the fear and worry of the unknown, parents are finding themselves juggling full-time jobs and full-time parenting. They may also be managing their older children's online learning programs, as well as finding a balance between encouraging physical activity (while parks and playgrounds are closed) and monitoring healthy screen time strategies. It's a perfect recipe for stress and anxiety.
One thing to keep in mind is that our children will absorb the anxiety adults feel, so it's vital that parents take the pressure off themselves. Our lives have changed dramatically in a short period of time, and we need to remind ourselves that this is not "business as usual."
While there are a ton of articles out there on managing stress and developing coping skills, many of them share some basic tenants.
Stay healthy. Maintaining a healthy routine is just as important for adults as it is for children. Get enough sleep, eat healthy meals, stay hydrated, and participate in some physical activity every day. Warmer weather makes it easier to get outside; go for a walk, toss a ball with your kiddo, grab a blanket and do some simple stretches on the grass!
Stay connected. Reach out to one friend a day, even if it's just a quick text message or phone call. These days there are lots of different ways to be alone together, whether it's having a loved one read a book to your child over over FaceTime or Skype, having a virtual book club over Zoom, or taking part in an online class!
Take breaks. While it's important to stay informed and updated from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, it's easy to get wrapped up in the coverage, which only amplifies anxiety. Give your mental state a break from time to time and do something else. Are there any hobbies you'd like to learn? Online classes you'd like to take? Books you'd like to read? Give yourself time to decompress and just enjoy the moment.
Love on your kiddos. Remember that parenting is the most important job and you are the most important and influential part of your child's life. Young children will remember how their family felt during the Coronavirus panic more than anything specific about the virus. Will they remember the stress and worry and anger in their home, or will they remember extra time with those they love, a relaxed approach to learning, and more hugs and stories on laps?
For more information on coping and handling stress,
You can visit Smart Start Central Oklahoma to know more.