There is no questioning the fact that the pandemic has impacted every element of our day-to-day lives. For those of you who are trying to co-parent your child in the best way that you possibly can, coronavirus, unsurprisingly, will have dramatically uprooted your established parenting routine.
You’re not alone here, the whole country is trying to adapt to the upheaval of COVID-19, across everything from the food shop to resorting to stitching their own face masks.
Although we’re delighted to see gradual developments that denote a shift towards some semblance of normality, at the same time, navigating these changes brings their own further challenges too.
Most recently, we’ve seen that schools are beginning to reopen and we can even see our loved ones (socially distanced, naturally) in the garden. If you’re nervous about finding the best way to meet these new guidance measures as co-parents, the key thing is to stay well-informed, and work as a team to keep your child as happy, healthy and safe as possible.
With all of this in mind, in this blog post I hope to provide a bit of advice for any parents out there currently attempting to navigate, the major challenge that is, COVID-19’s social distancing measures. Just keep doing what you’re doing and have confidence in yourself – you’d be mad to think that parenting has ever been an easy ride, and you’ve taken all of these challenges in your stride, this virus is no different!
The most important thing is that you and the child’s other parent work to maintain open communication.
It’s bound to be especially difficult right now, especially with such a huge disruption to your normal routine, but make sure you keep working together as a team, keeping each other informed and involved in your decisions.
It’s the best way to simultaneously help the other feel reassured, while ensuring the safety and well-being (both mentally and physically) of your child.
Remember, the most important thing at all times is to communicate with each other clearly and rationally, to ensure that your child feels comforted, in contact with and loved by both parents.
Children are feeling particularly anxious at the moment, in the same way as adults are. It’s not surprising when you think about it; it’s a confusing, unsettling time where everyone’s feeling a bit on edge and worried.
If you feel like your child is worried, talk to their other parent and together you can think about the best way to help quell these anxieties. Together, try to keep an eye out for your child and gauge how they are feeling and, if you can see that they are concerned, the best thing that you can do is talk to them about what is going on, in a way that is calm but also honest.
You are both there as figures that your child will look to for advice and comfort, and they will naturally gauge your feelings to form their own. Together, plan how you’re going to keep your child informed – don’t worry about being an absolute fountain of wisdom, just be honest and make sure your child feels comfortable to ask you any questions or voice any fears that they might be having. This will be the best way that you can ensure that your child’s anxieties are limited.
Now that schools are reopening, on the positive, going back to school will be a fantastic way to bring back structure and limit the virus’s disruption to their normal lives. It will help them feel reassured that the world is on its way to returning to normal again soon. It will also connect them to a regular social network, which will support them and keep them happy, too.
If you have decided that it is best for your child not to go back to school, it is important to provide them with a clear structured routine. As parents you should both work together to help keep your child settled with an organised, solid routine that makes an equally viable alternative to the structure and work that would be provided for them at school.
If your child is high risk, or if either your child or either parent has developed symptoms of the virus – this unfortunately means that you might not be able to see each other for a few weeks.
If this is the case, regularly keep in touch virtually instead. It may not be ideal, but it’s a great way for your child to feel loved, and keep your child reassured that everyone is safe, happy, and will get better soon.
Skype and Facetime have worked wonders over lockdown, and so stick to regular scheduled chats with all your friends and family members.
Keep these calls fun – you can get your child to play with their family and involve them in their activities in the same way as they would in person, it may just require some extra creativity on your part. You could watch films together or even plan games to play together. Use your initiative, and have confidence in the fact that you know how best to keep your child happy.
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