Parenting is challenging at the best of times. And now, parents have the added challenge of having their child(ren) at home full-time. For some, this means juggling childcare, paid work, relationships, and other commitments. This can result in parents feeling overworked and unsure of how to cope. Below are some tips to help. You can also click here for the World Health Organisations Tips to Parenting During COVID-19.

Explaining COVID-19. One of the unique challenges parents face is how to explain the overnight shift in daily life. Teaching kids about safe distancing early is key – tips to do this include drawing pictures, lining up objects around the home to be 2m in length, and playing games where children have to guess distances. Using consequences when children do not adhere to policies is also important. Emphasizing that these policies are in place to protect children like them, as well as their siblings, mom and dad, grandparents etc. Check out Kids Health for more information about how to talk to your kids about COVID-19. 

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Set a routine. Similar to adults, children thrive on routine. It is very helpful to set a schedule for you and your children that has time for structured activities as well as free time. This can help children feel more secure and better behaved, and for them to know what is coming throughout the day – fighting off boredom. Also getting children or teenagers to help plan their routine – like making a school timetable – will help ensure that everyone is working to a schedule that suits their needs and follow it! 

Exercise each day. Setting aside time for exercising each day is important. If possible, try to get outside, this could include going for a walk or bike ride, or even do some yoga for kids! This will help with the stress of having kids with lots of energy at home. Of course, be sure to follow government policies about where you can safely go outside and also teach children about the importance of social distancing. 

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Focus on Learning. Even if kids are not in school right not now they can still be learning! Why not check out the live feed of the shark tank at Ripley's Aquarium in Toronto, take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum or listen to one of the many podcasts for kids. For other resources to use for learning at home click here

Be kind to yourself. These are exceptional circumstances and not the time to hold yourself to higher standards to be a super-parent. Give yourself a break. Much like the oxygen mask in an airplane, you need to take care of yourself first. For two-parent families, having open conversations with our parenting partner about how you are managing is important as is incorporating in quiet time for yourselves to recharge your batteries.

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