Reducing stress of working parents in times of pandemic (covid-19)
Covid-19 has caused chaos all over the globe. It is becoming difficult to cope with it by each passing day. COVID-19 has caused schools to shut down . The school closings has created undue stress for working parents. The balancing act for job routines and student assignments can be cumbersome.Managing online meetings for jobs and classes for the children can produce anxiety for parents.
Here are some tips to cope with this COVID-19 stress and anxiety
- Create a routines for your children: Children crave structure. Have a set wake up time and bedtime. List their activities for the day. Mix school assignments with fun activities at home. This will help mimic their typical school day.
- Do not inflate the risk: No doubt that virus has become pandemic, but do not escalate the risk of virus. We are still learning every day about COVID-19 which creates uncertainty. However, you can control what you and your children do at home which breeds familiarity. This will decrease anxiety for you and your children.
- Adopt precautions suggested by WHO (World Health Organization): Covid-19 is communicable disease. The purpose of the global lockdown and working from home is for your health safety.
- Tell your children and other housemates to adopt social practices while being at home.
- Ask them to make a habit of sanitizing themselves and commonly used household items.
- Tell them to watch hands with anti-bacterial soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Guide them to wear masks while going outside if they are going out for a short moment.
- Avoid overconsumption of media as media hype has increased fear of virus: There is so much news and opinions which can create anxiety. Choose a reliable news source. Watch the news on short intervals during the day. This will help you reduce the content that you and family are consuming.
- Reduce Screen time for your kids: Children have increased screen time since they are having online classes. Its easy for parents to give their children tablets and laptops to play games or watch their favorite shows during periods of down time. Try having your child do arts and crafts, play board games, or use their imagination. This will help them in the long run in creating delayed gratification when expecting a reward or pleasure.
- Create your own routines and environment: Mimicking your routines and office environment can create the sense of familiarity. This will eliminate the uncertainty. Having an office that is set up for productivity can help you complete job tasks with reduced distractions.
- Hold yourself accountable: Put your tasks onto your calendar and schedule. Visually seeing what you need to do can allow you to take action and not avoid it. When you complete your tasks, it can reduce anxiety and stress.
- Set Boundaries: Inform your children that when you are in your office or working to not disturb. It will be important to teach them that the more interruptions can cause you to work longer and cause less time for family socializing. This can be difficult if you have small children. Working with your spouse or care giver will help transition the children with boundaries.
- Work hard, play hard: Your family members will be busy with school and job tasks. Have it as a reward to do a safe and fun activity as a family after completing necessary assignments. This will allow everyone to respect each other’s work time. The goal will be for the family to fellowship with each other. Children would be encouraged that after homework, their will be time for fun. This will create a sense of variety and stability for everyone at home.
Hope these tips can help reduce anxiety for you and your children. Stay safe!
Dr. Ifeanyi Olele
Ifeanyi Olele, DO, MBA, MS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who sees adolescent and adult patients in the greater Washington DC metropolitan area at Genesis Psychiatric Solutions. Dr. Olele is a dedicated psychiatrist in the treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma-related stress disorders, and attention deficit disorders. Dr. Ifeanyi Olele is one of the few psychiatrists who utilizes psychotherapy (talk therapy) as part of his treatment plan.