Healthy Parenting

Healthy Parenting

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has upended family life around the world. School closures, working remote, physical distancing — it's a lot to navigate for anyone, but especially for parents. These unprecedented times can bring about difficulties in parenting.

UNICEF recommends the following tip for parents to help manage the new normal;

  1. One-on-one time
  • Set aside time to spend with each child
  • Ask your child what they would like to do

Switch off the TV and phone. Listen to them, look at them. Give them your full attention. It makes children feel loved and secure, and shows them that they are important.

Have fun!

  1. Keeping it positive

It’s hard to feel positive when our kids or teenagers are driving us crazy. We often end up saying “Stop doing that!”. But children are much more likely to do what we ask if we give them positive instructions and lots of praise for what they do right.

  • Use positive words when telling your child what to do; like "Please put your clothes away" (instead of "Don’t make a mess").
  • Shouting at your child will just make you and them more stressed and angrier. Get your child’s attention by using their name. Speak in a calm voice.
  • Try praising your child or teenager for something they have done well. They may not show it, but you’ll see them doing that good thing again. It will also reassure them that you notice and care.
  • Teens especially need to be able to communicate with their friends. Help your teen connect through social media and other safe distancing ways. This is something you can do together, too!

 

  1. Get structured 
  • Make 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. Children will follow this better if they help to make it.
  • Include exercise in each day - this helps with stress and kids with lots of energy at home. Include outdoor activities, if it is okay in your country to step out in street or a park while maintain social distance.
  1. Bad behavior
  • Catch bad behavior early and redirect your kids’ attention from a bad to a good behavior. Stop it before it starts! When they start to get restless, you can distract with something interesting or fun: “Come, let’s go outside for a walk!”
  • Feel like screaming? Give yourself a 10-second pause. Breathe in and out slowly five times. Then try to respond in a calmer way. Millions of parents say this helps - a lot!
  • One-on-One time, praise for being good, and consistent routines will reduce bad behavior.
  • Give your children and teens simple jobs with responsibilities. Just make sure it is something they are able to do. And praise them when they do it!
  1. Keep calm and manage stress

This is a stressful time. Take care of yourself, so you can support your children.

  • Millions of people have the same fears as us. Find someone who you can talk to about how you are feeling. Listen to them. Avoid social media that makes you feel panicked.
  • We all need a break sometimes. When your children are asleep, do something fun or relaxing for yourself. Make a list of healthy activities that YOU like to do. You deserve it!
  • Be open and listen to your children. Your children will look to you for support and reassurance. Listen to your children when they share how they are feeling. Accept how they feel and give them comfort.
  • Listen to the sounds in the room.
  1. Talking and educating about COVID-19

Be willing to talk. They will already have heard something. Silence and secrets do not protect our children. Honesty and openness do. Think about how much they will understand. You know them best.

  • Teach your child about keeping safe distances
  • You can reassure your child by talking about how you are keeping safe.
  • Make a 20-second song for washing hands. Add actions!
  • Make a game to see how few times we can touch our faces with a reward for the least number of touches (you can count for each other)