Many parents of young children might feel stressed and overwhelmed during these days of the corona virus pandemic. It is hard to keep up normal family life when children are not able to participate in their usual social activities. In addition, it is important for each parent to still get some “down-time”. Here are some tips for parents:

  1. If there is a second partner, great! Arrange for one partner to take care of the children while you get some much-needed time for yourself. While you are on your own you are not to be disturbed. Of course you should switch roles to let your partner relax equally.
  2. If there is no second partner things are harder. These are difficult times and difficult times often require the bending of rules. For example, if you are usually unhappy about letting your children spend more than a certain amount of time in front of screens, consider bending that rule. Long-term, you need to also take care of yourself. Feeling more and more stressed will only contribute to a higher chance of you lashing out or behaving in ways that you will regret. So make some allowances and stick to your rules when your environment realistically allows for it.

Are your nerves close to snapping?
Acknowledge that many parents are experiencing these dificulties now. You are not a bad parent for being annoyed or angry. Parents are allowed to feel emotions too. The difference between you and your child is that you are in better control of your emotions. Before you snap and do something you might regret, here are some things you can do: 

  1. Leave the room. Unless your children are in immediate danger, it is ok to leave the room for a moment. Get out, breathe, drink a glass of water and think about how you want to approach the situation when you are calmer.
  2. Call a friend with children. It can feel as if you are alone in your struggles. Most likely, that is not the case. Call a friend and vent about what is going on. You will probably hear similar stories from them and  might soon be laughing about the predicaments. 
  3. Let this one go. Even though your children might not usually be allowed to do certain things, it is important to consider giving some leeway to relax everyone. Depending on their age you can discuss special “Corona rules” with them that apply for now, but will change once life goes back to a more normal routine.
  4. Share how you feel. Most likely your children already picked up on your stress levels. Parents experience emotions too, which can be explained to them in age-appropriate ways. It is often more confusing for them if you pretend to be alright and then suddenly send them to their room.