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Parenting in a Crisis: Your Survival Guide

We are living in historic times. As a society, we are scared, overwhelmed, tired, confused, and impatient. And it’s only been a few weeks. We are all settling into the certainty of uncertainty. So many of us aren’t sleeping well, we’re not eating well, and we’ve lost many of the coping mechanisms that we heavily relied on, like attending church, hanging out with friends, or even grabbing a drink at the local bar. And in the midst of all of this, parenting doesn’t stop. When we wake up in the morning, our children still need us. Dinner still needs made. Homeschooling still has to happen. How can parents survive and thrive in the midst of this crisis? Your guide to parenting in a crisis can help.

How do you explain the crisis to kids?

In the midst of natural disasters, national tragedies, and now pandemics, how do we as parents best present this information to our children? Parenting in a crisis requires the ability to explain these complicated world events to our little ones. Depending on their age, there’s only a certain amount of information they really need to know. I’m a big believer in not having the news on the tv when young children are around. We all know that the 24 hour news cycle can be overwhelming even for adults. For children, imagine how much more confusing this information can be. We really don’t need to know 50% of what we read and consume. Children really only need to know about 1% of what’s going on. 

Depending on their age, tell your children age appropriate information. Also, tell them how it affects their lives on a daily basis. Remind them how important it is to wash their hands properly and to have healthy habits. It’s a great opportunity to review basic science facts. And if you have times when you, as the parent, can’t keep it all together, don’t beat yourself up. If your kids see you cry, explain your emotions in a simple way, and remind them that it’s ok to feel sad sometimes. We aren’t perfect, and it’s ok for our kids to know that.

Parenting in a Crisis: What about homeschooling?

I’ve been homeschooling my five kids for 10 years. For years, because of this, people have acted like I was a little bit crazy. And now, the whole country is a little bit crazy! Is homeschooling easy? Nope. Can you do it? Yep! It’s overwhelming, but with these simple steps, you can be successful in this season. These are some simple steps you can use to get started:

Self Care is an Important Part of Parenting in a Crisis

We are all at, or close to, our wits’ end. I don’t know about you, but I cry multiple times per week. We’ve never experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and scared. And even though you’re a parent, you’re still a person. And the old saying is so true, you really do need to put your oxygen mask on before you help others. However, as we discussed earlier, many of our favorite pastimes and ways to relax aren’t possible right now. Our family loves going to theme parks and to hang out with friends. We can’t do either! So what are some other ways to relax and take care of yourself during this crisis while parenting in the midst of a crisis? Try some of these suggestions:

Alone Together

As parents, we often feel both lonely and overwhelmed with little people. During the midst of this pandemic, this is even more true. We are alone, but we are together. Our children are our life, and our main priority. But we also need to take care of ourselves, in order to be the best possible caregivers for them. The world is a scary place, and we are now left to create a happy and healthy space at home for our little ones. We are holding it together for the next generation, even if just barely. There will be a time when our great grandchildren will ask us, for a school report, what it was like to live through these historic times. We will look back, and feel proud of how we brought our children, and ourselves, through this difficult time. And we’ll do it alone together. 

This article appeared first in at Mental health is so important during this difficult time. Visit their website for virtual counseling services.

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