Nine Tips to Help Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic
We encourage new parents to follow the recommendations for the first 40 days, but here are some tips for helping new parents get through this time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether your baby is 9 days old, 9 months old or you have older kids in the house, here are some helpful tips for self-care during this time.
1. Remember what is in your control and what is not.
Focus on what you can control, washing your hands, practicing kindness, eating well, taking your vitamins. Try to limit your news consumption right now.
2. Don’t compare.
Remember not to compare and despair right now, everyone will react to this scenario in different ways. Be gentle with yourself and with others.
3. Get some fresh air.
Some fresh air and sunshine is great for mental and physical health. Even if it’s just a lap around the garden do what you can to get outside with baby…the fresh air will help you both!
4. Use a baby carrier for jobs around the house.
Babywearing can help with jobs around the house, especially if you have an older child. Vacuuming, organizing, putting dishes away, laundry, helping an older child with homework or crafting, meal prep (but no open flame) are just some examples of activities that can be more easily accomplished with babywearing! A note on safety: be aware of your surrounding and be sure to bend at the knees, not at your waist (it’s better for your back anyway!) when babywearing.
5. Challenge yourself to stay in the present.
Even just a “micro-moment” of mindfulness can keep you focused on what is right in front of you. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, smells and other sensory experiences around you. Look at your feet and remember where you are. Feet not fear. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly ten times tells your body that you are safe. There are also so many great apps out there for mindfulness and meditation, even just a few minutes in the morning can make a world of difference. We like Expectful and Insight Timer.
6. Stay connected and reach out if you need support.
Embrace asking for help. Asking for help is one of the biggest lessons being a parent, but it’s especially true in this time. Find ways to stay connected online through Facebook, Google, or Zoom chats. Many classes and meetings that were scheduled IRL are now moving online. If you have Zoom or Google Hangout, it’s also easy to start a quick group chat with some other parents.
7. Lower your expectations.
This is a great suggestion for parenting in general, but remember you don’t have to wear your super-hero cape right now. Do the best you can and let go of unrealistic expectations. You don’t have to check everything off your list and tackle that project you’ve been meaning to get to. Take care of yourself first and then take care of your littles.
8. Hydrate and eat well.
Especially if you are breastfeeding, be sure to have a full water bottle with you.
9. Try to have a daily rhythm, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to it.
There’s a meme going around with a “Covid-19 Daily Schedule” and it’s crossed out and says “Fixed it. Try to keep kids alive while working from home and pray they don’t start fighting while I’m on a conference call. You’re welcome.” Remember, this is not business as usual. The more we can stick to a schedule, the easier it will be, but this is just week one and we are all adjusting to our new normal right now. This too shall pass.
You got this, mama.