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Tips for parents and caregivers in uncertain times

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting family life around the world. School closures, remote work and physical distancing are just a few of the things that are posing challenges for families. It’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and many parents and caregivers may find themselves looking for help and advice. Here are some tips to help you navigate these temporary, but uncertain times.  

Reassure your children. Let them know your family is your top priority. Use reassuring words like, “I’m your parent, it’s my job to keep you safe and we are doing everything we can.”

Maintain everyday family routines. Things may feel chaotic and unpredictable, but your home doesn't have to. Try to keep to usual rising times, mealtimes and bedtimes. Consider making a daily schedule and involve children in working out any new routines.

Have plenty of interesting things to do at home. Busy children are less likely to become bored and misbehave. Create a list of 20 activities to keep them busy (not just screen time).

Take notice of behavior you like. Give them positive attention and let them know when you are pleased by telling them what they have just done (“That’s a lovely card you made for your grandmother. She will really appreciate that.”).

Be open and listen. Make sure your child knows you are ready to talk. Children need to be able to have their questions answered. When a child wants to talk about their feelings, stop what you are doing and listen carefully. Avoid telling your child how they should feel (“That’s silly. You shouldn’t be scared about that.”) Let children know it is ok to be worried.

Be honest. Always answer their questions truthfully. Think about how old they are and what they can understand.  Get information from trusted sources (e.g. official government websites) rather than social media.

Point out things that are different. The COVID-19 crisis creates uncertainty for everyone. Parents need to find a way to accept uncertainty and, through your actions and words, show this acceptance to your children. It’s ok not to know the answers. Big changes to children’s lives can be hard and scary, but they can also create opportunities to learn new skills.

Take care of yourself. Take actions that give you a better sense of personal control. Stress management skills such as mindfulness and/or deep breathing can help reduce stress. Keep healthy and safe, and avoid behavior that might increase your stress.

Reach out and connect with loved ones. Make greater use of phones, online communication tools and social media to keep in touch with family, friends and neighbors. Help others in need who are going through a tough time and are more vulnerable (e.g. parents/caregivers with disabilities, older adults).

Remember to check in regularly with your child. Remind them you care and they can talk to you anytime. Don’t forget to make time to have some fun, and if you are ever worried or confused, it’s ok to reach out for help.  These are uncertain times, but you don’t have to go it alone. For more information visit Triple P Parenting  or  york.ca/parenting


covid-19,parenting,caregivers,tips The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting family life around the world. It’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and many parents and caregivers may find themselves looking for help and advice. The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

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