Since the beginning of Philadelphia’s Stay-at-Home Order, many parents have been playing double (or even triple!) duty as caregivers, workers, and teachers. Juggling these different roles is a lot to balance even on the best days, and the stress and anxiety of COVID-19 can make it even harder. Here are some tips to help you and your kids have a smoother stay-at-home experience:
Set realistic expectations
First and foremost, recognize that these are challenging times for everyone. This is a time be kind to yourself and focus on doing your best, not perfection. Cut yourself some slack. Have an open and honest conversation with your employer about what is a realistic workload during this time and how balancing childcare may require you to shift work hours or responsibilities. With your kids, remember that this is a stressful time for them too and that kids are also doing the best they can
If you can, work in shifts
If you live with a partner or another adult, try to make a schedule for who will be doing childcare and who will be working. Having a regular routine with a block of time when you know you’ll be able to work can help make things feel less stressful. And don’t forget to schedule some time for breaks—when you’re not doing work or childcare!
Create a new routine
Kids and adults crave consistency so schedule times of day for meals, snacks, reading, learning, playing, exercise and other activities. If you have an important meeting or work task, be smart when you schedule that work. With younger kids, naptime can be a great time to get things done. For older kids, schedule for a time when your child is playing with a favorite toy or doing an activity. If you are with your kids fulltime, use the times when your kids are either sleeping, playing, or learning independently for some “me time.”
Have fun with your kids
When you are with your kids, try to be fully present and do things you and your family enjoy. For some ideas on activities to do with young children, visit our pages on resources for families and early learning providers and health and wellness tips for parents with young children.
Take care of yourself
As parents and caregivers, it’s so easy to put everyone else’s needs before our own. But in order to take care of our kids, it’s important to also take care of ourselves!
- If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with it all or angry with your kids, make sure your kids are with another caregiver and take a much-deserved break! Even five to ten minutes can make a big difference. Use this time to do some deep breathing, count backwards from ten, exercise, or connect by phone or video with a loved one.
- The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Parents and caregivers all over Philly are dealing with similar stressors. To help lighten the load, here are some resources to support you and your family during this time:
- Visit Healthy Minds Philly for free mental health resources.
- Find free pregnancy, baby, and toddler resources.
- For information on free Chromebooks, meal sites, and learning guides, check out the School District of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 Information Hub.
- Visit the Department of Human Services’s Parenting education and support page.