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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

Pandemic Parenting

Top tips on how to survive (and thrive!) through the challenges of parenting in a pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on parents, who have had to juggle issues like online schooling, working from home, job uncertainty, worry about vulnerable loved ones, illness and loss. Now, more than ever, we need to support each other through this difficult time. Here are some survival tips and tools to help us navigate through this challenging time.



Be gentle with yourself. None of us have experienced anything like this in our lifetime, and there’s no rule book; most of us are doing the best we can.

Take time to nuture yourself. It is important that you take time to replenish your energy, so you can give to others without running on empty. This might be as simple as some alone time and a quiet cup of tea in the morning before everyone wakes or taking a short walk outside to feel the sun on your face.


Try to keep routines. Children thrive on routine and structure. Try to have a daily schedule or timetable, letting everyone know what to expect next in their day. It doesn’t have to be rigid, as life happens despite our best plans. However, keeping appropriate bedtimes for children as a routine helps them to be better emotionally regulated.


Manage screen time. Have an agreement about the number of hours of recreational screen time, where devices are to be charged (not in the bedroom), and switch-off times, as well as screen free times (like family dinnertime for instance).


Schedule family time. Even though we are spending more time at home, it can feel like we are engaged in our own devices, especially with older children and teens. It’s important to schedule in family time, where no devices are allowed. Family Games Night, outdoor hikes or a Family Movie Night are all great ways to spend quality time together.


Get active! We have all been more sedentary during the pandemic period and it’s good for our health and wellbeing to get active and moving again. Outdoor activities can also be a great time for families to connect and bond.


Connect with others. The pandemic has meant that we may not have as much direct contact with our loved ones, but we can still schedule connection time, perhaps via regular conference call, old fashioned telephone call or via Zoom. Physical distancing doesn’t have to mean social disconnection!


Reach out for support. We are all trying to figure this out, and it’s been tough. If you feel you are struggling, do reach out for help and support. This could be to trusted friends and family, or to parenting support groups and resources. In Trinidad and Tobago, these resources include:


Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists: https://psychologytt.org

Crisis Support Directory: https://www.findcarett.com



Be well,

Paula



Dr Paula Robertson is a mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years’ experience working with children, young people and their families. You can find out more at www.paulathedoctormom.com.

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