Pandemic Parenting

Dear, Momma! Dear, Daddy! I want to commend you! Raising kids is an amazing adventure under normal circumstances, but in these pandemic streets, or rather pandemic hallways of your home – it can go from cherished snuggles on the couch to you wanting to pull your hair out. Just breathe, my friend. I don’t know how your world shifted due to COVID-19, but it did a cosmic shift for most of us that may have entailed becoming your child’s full-time teacher and parent, while simultaneously juggling your full-time job or stay-at-home, parenting responsibilities. You just got promoted, and now you have at least 3 demanding jobs that want your undivided attention at all times. Whew – it’s tiring just thinking about it. I want to send you a little encouragement. Sometimes parenting can be a thankless job, but for your little ones or big ones, it means more to them than you could ever imagine. Perfection isn’t needed. I just wanted to let you know that I see you, I feel you, and I’m rooting you on. Here are a few reminders to keep you encouraged during this unprecedented time for parenting:

Give Yourself Grace

We are being asked to do an unprecedented task. It’s okay if things don’t go as scheduled. I also want to let you know that some degree of boredom promotes creative thinking. For small children, it’s okay to turn off all devices and give them an opportunity to play freely. Playing freely is a powerful mode of learning for young children. At times, work may have to wait when the needs of your kiddos cannot wait.

This Too Shall Pass

In the grand scheme of things, this time will not last forever. I know it feels like we just finished running a marathon to only find out that we are actually in an ultramarathon. You got this! You may have some epic fails, but I’m also hoping that you will have some epic victories – times where you truly get to bond with your children like never before. I understand the concern about the long-term effects of this time. At times, I’m hoping that bribing my 3-year-old son with fruit snacks to get him to pay attention to the preschool Zoom call will not have long-term effects on his development. At other times, I’m hoping that my little ones will always remember the long hugs and me staring at them in awe and gratefulness for this extra quality time, the beauty of their unique personalities, and the gifts of safety and security during this uncertain time.

Meeting Their Essential Needs is What Matters

I’m also learning that when it comes to parenting in general, but especially during this unique season, it’s important to focus your energy on what really matters when it comes to meeting your children’s needs. An essential goal is to provide your children with a sense of normalcy or a degree of crafting a new normal that puts them at ease and meets their critical needs. You know, I teach a human growth and development course, and I always discuss the importance of meeting your children’s critical emotional needs. The top five critical needs for children are to feel respected, important, accepted, included, and secure. Just know that meeting these needs is what truly matters. If you are frustrated with uploading their assignments on the online portal or being the perfect teacher, just know that those are minor things. Treating them with positive regard and respect, including them in your world, accepting them, and making them feel secure, those are the major things. Major in the major things and minor in the minor things, my friend.

Ask for Help When You Feel Overwhelmed

It definitely takes a village to raise children, and the interesting thing about this time is the lack of direct access to that powerful village. Despite the current limitations of instrumental support, ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. That may mean that you seek help at work. That may mean that you ask your spouse or your child’s other parent to give you a short breather. That may also mean that you take the time to vent and decompress with a friend. We may have to reach out with our virtual arms for encouragement and support. Lastly, seek the Lord for emotional and spiritual support, as well. It reminds me of Psalm 61:2b, which states, “when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” You are not in this alone, and God has put everything you need on the inside of you to thrive at parenting during this time.

Take a Moment to Just Have Fun With the Kiddos

Okay, stop right now, find your kiddos and make them laugh! Let’s turn potential frustrations into fun! What are ways that you can create fun experiences in the home. It could vary from hosting a family game night to cooking a new meal together. Even during the most trying of times, we can create cherished memories. I hope that you are able to etch such powerful cherished memories during this time that you almost forget the challenges of this time. You know, like childbirth!

We are in this together, and we all do a little bit better with some encouragement. You’re doing a good job! I’m rooting for you! You got this!

With love,
Dr. Cassandra

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