• Deirdre Brandner

Lower your expectations: Parenting during COVID

I’m not talking about personal grooming or clothing choices during COVID…… This is about realistic expectations about what we can and can’t be expected to do as a parent during this time. There has never been such a thing as the perfect parent …. if you think someone is close to that…and you’ve seen their posts on Instagram then please unfollow them. They will do more harm to your mental health than quarantine. The Parenting Award will go to every mum and dad that got through this pandemic….

1) Home schooling is an oxymoron. We cannot expect children to cope with continuing to do the worst thing about school …. schoolwork, whilst simultaneously robbing of them of the best thing about school…. their friends. If your child can engage in remote learning and likes the activities. great…. if not then let it go.

2) Comments you say to your child during this time will not damage them forever. We are all feeling the stress and ambiguity that comes with navigating this strange experience. Do not dwell on those moments when you’ve snapped, yelled and threatened. Instead focus on the games you’ve played that you didn’t really want to or the umpteenth episode of Peppa Pig that you watched with your child

3) Even the American Association of Paediatrics has realised now is not the time to be policing screen time, as it released new recommendations during COVID. There are plenty of great screen options for children. The focus should be on programs or apps that are interactive, educational and most importantly age appropriate. Try to introduce them to cool documentaries, learn something about Minecraft and watch a tv show with them. Your kids need their friends….and they can only access them through technology

4) Pick your battles, rooms aren’t always going to be tidy, there’s a chance the kitchen bench will be messy all day and you may never see your lounge room floor. Everyone is in the house …. all day. It is not going to look how it usually does. If this stresses you or other family members, have a no toys in the lounge room afternoons or nothing to be left on the bench between 2-5. Make compromises “towels always come off the floor, but you only have to make your bed every second day”, that might go for us to.

5) Your children don’t hate each and they don’t despise you….it just feels a bit like that at the moment. For some families, particularly those with introverted members, this is a period of calm when there are no expectations about having to go anyway where or see anybody. Other children are missing their friends, sport, parties and even school. They don’t always have the language skills or emotional insight to articulate this, so it manifests in irritability, low tolerance, anger and many more conflicts. The world no longer feels right, and they are not happy…. we may also experience these exact same emotions. Be gentle with them and try to be flexible and understanding. We will get back to normal one day…….

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