COVID Parenting: A Webinar with Parenting Expert Sue Groner
Parents are navigating unprecedented challenges as social distancing protocols endure due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most difficult obstacles for many parents has been COVID parenting: how to keep moms, dads, and kids sane while staying inside all day and attempting to work and homeschool. We invited parenting expert Sue Groner to join us for an informative and reassuring webinar, “Parenting Through COVID,” hosted on Friday, April 24, 2020.
Sue shared several helpful takeaways to refine your COVID parenting skills and keep the entire family happy as quarantine continues. Here were her key tips:
- Recruit your child to help you brainstorm all of the things that they like to do at home (preferably things they can do independently). Write each activity down on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. When you need to get something done for work or need a moment away from your child(ren), say “You get to pick something out of the jar now!” Your child will feel like this activity is special and exciting, and you can take a break from coming up with endless entertainment for them.
- Use a kitchen timer to help kids structure their days and manage their own time. If they need to get a school assignment done, have them set the timer themselves so they feel empowered and have autonomy. Bonus points if you can use the timer as a game: “Yesterday you got dressed in ten minutes – can you do it in eight today?”
- As you encounter new challenges and opportunities with COVID parenting, try to maintain a “let’s give it a try” attitude. This mindset can decrease your stress and establish an empowering and positive family environment.
- Try to see this time at home as an opportunity to teach your kids invaluable life skills (especially your teenagers) like how to do laundry, load the dishwasher, cook simple meals, clean your home, and more.
- Loosen your expectations a bit during this chaotic time. Relax your typical expectations and rules across every domain of life: screen time limits, healthy eating, routines, etc. It’s okay to change up the rules and focus on meeting the basic needs of your family.
- Meltdowns are normal and given our current circumstances, they may be happening more frequently. When you’re dealing with a child melting down, try to validate their feelings and communicate with love and understanding: use sentences like “I see you’re having a hard time and I’m here to help you through it.” Try giving them a “time in” (instead of a time out): recognize your child needs a moment, give them the attention they’re seeking (give them a tight hug!), and just sit with them for a moment. This is a great way to de-escalate a meltdown.
- Be playful. Try to maintain a playful attitude as much as possible, making even mundane chores into fun activities. Dance while you’re folding laundry, sing while you’re putting the dishes away, and encourage friendly competitions to see who can clean up fastest: anything you can do to create positivity and encourage happiness.
Most importantly, Sue shared this: it’s impossible to think you can do it all – be a full-time worker, teacher, housekeeper, and parent. We’re all in this together, and we’re all just trying to do our best. Give yourself permission to fail at COVID parenting. Give yourself permission to go through a process of trial and error. During these unprecedented times, it’s all we can do.
If you’d like more of Sue’s helpful parenting advice, reach out to her at theparentingmentor.com. If we can help with educational activities and navigating your child’s school journey (both during COVID-19 and beyond), reach out to us here.