In a world where you are not able to leave the house unless it is for essential needs, how does a parent transform themselves into a superhero who is ready to tackle work, parenting, and meeting the needs of a growing family? The answer lies within the small victories of everyday living. Parental engagement is one of the most fundamental aspects of a student’s academic success in the classroom and that has not changed but escalated in 2020, during the pandemic.
Local families are feeling the pain of maintaining the ongoing well-being of their families. After talking to two families, there are common hardships for young families as the pandemic wears on. Kirsten Bowman, 31, explains:
“… I am barely surviving as it is. Parenting is really hard as it is, but mix in the fact that grandparents, aunts, uncles and extended family can't come over to help or occupy your children for even the amount of time to shower is hard! I don't feel as though I am just strictly mom every day, I am mom, therapist, friend and play mate to my 2 year old, feeder of my 4 month old, meal maker, laundromat owner, mess cleaner, and then throw in wife and dog mom”.
Our “new normal” has put a strain on parents’ mental well-being, especially those who are staying at home during this time. There is no doubt that new challenges are arising but who are they affecting our children? After talking to another local Barrie mom, Erin Magill, age 26, she expressed that it is evident virtual learning and lack of social interaction affects a child’s behaviour. Magill explains:
“Typically my child is the angel child at school, and unleashes her wild side at home, now she’s just wild all the time and it is a struggle to get her to focus. I think the hardest part is watching her struggle with the lack of social interaction. She misses recess with her friends and play dates. I think it’s just a year on focusing on survival and keeping her as happy as possible”.
Maintaining your child’s emotional and social well-being as well as your own during this time is what is essential. This is a time for survival, simply making it day-to-day as happily as one can manage. Supporting the weight of a growing family under one roof and no extra help is what the mother’s expressed as exhausting. In order to felicitate a positive home environment and to support your child’s overall health, here are some tips to maintain your sanity:
- Disconnect and Recharge: find time for yourself in the early morning, late at night or during nap time to do something for yourself. Some ideas of recharging are taking a nap, watching an episode of your favourite show, buying a specialty drink from Starbucks.
- Create Boundaries: set parameters for you and your child/children. Set aside a certain area for school work or learning. Then, maintain a space for relaxation and family time where you will gather together.
- Listen: your children will express how they are feeling and their emotional needs might not rational but they are still valid.
- Support: find a way to connect with people in similar situations to ask for advice and to share experiences with. Online support is vast and there are a lot of families in similar situations who are looking to connect to know they are not alone.
- Lea Cruickshank