Parenting in the Age of COVID-19

Okay, it’s time. I didn’t want to talk about the Coronavirus (now nicknamed COVID-19) because frankly, I need a break from the incessant stream of news, emails, and social media posts lighting up my phone. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an information junkie. I read all the latest articles I find on the web from epidemiologists and virologists because I find information, no matter how bleak it is at times, comforting. I also know too much information results in extreme overwhelm (hello every book that I’ve ever wanted to read piled up around me). We’re living in a new reality depending on where we happen to be in the world. Some of us have it easier than others. 

Schools in Massachusetts closed last Friday. I’ve had a number of sleepless nights worrying about how to be a working mom, artist, and homeschooler. We’re looking at least a three week shut down (although it could be longer). Aside from grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants offering take-out, most businesses in our area, at least, are closed. This includes my photography studio. No one knows with certainty how long schools and businesses will be closed, but we will do what we can to help “flatten the curve”. What we’re all learning is how to cope with this new normal. 

As parents, not only do we have the task of working at home (or alternatively searching for work) but we also have the job of homeschooling our children. So how do we deal with the changes to our daily lives?

First and foremost, we must be patient with ourselves. We couldn’t do it all before and we certainly can’t do it all now. I posted a daily schedule for the kids school work that includes spending time outdoors in nature (playing the yard or going for hikes), academic (homework assigned from teachers as well as other online sources) and creative (artists posting live drawing classes for kids!) time, as well as chore (sweep the floor, tidy up bedrooms, organize shoes in the mud room) and quiet (reading or puzzle books) time. I keep it simple, flexible, and fun. I fit my work into their schedule during their quiet time or choice time. A daily schedule keeps us all accountable and provides a welcome routine.

Tips on Parenting in the age of COVID-19

1. Be patient with yourself (and your kiddos).

2. Create a daily schedule.

3. Keep everyone hydrated with plenty of water.

4. Exercise for everyone (family walks/hikes, yoga, run, calisthenics).

5. Nourishing family meals.

6. Find calm (yoga—Sunflower Yoga & Mindfulness led by my friend Stacey Mackowiak for kids and adults and Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, meditate, daydream—whatever reduces stress).

7. Read or listen to music (currently reading Crime and Punishment as a community #TolstoyTogether).


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