I facilitated three different Parent Support Groups via Zoom. As parents shared struggles, ideas and successes, I took notes. These ideas came directly from the wise parents who shared honestly. (Thanks to Kimberley for helping me to organize my notes).
Needs/Difficulties with Quarantine
– Sense of absurdity/strangeness of interacting with everyone through screens.
-Feeling pressure “to be productive.”
-Often chaotic. That’s the reality in many homes.
-I need a break. Need alone time. Don’t want to rely on screen time.
-Chaos in homes without a schedule.
-Can’t wait for working parent to get home (grateful they have a job but) …
-Miss having adults to speak to.
-Envious. I would love to work right now.
-Parent: If I don’t get outside, I feel crazy.
-Anxious (worry about coronavirus and my parents) spinning cycle of fear.
Suggestions and Advice for Quarantine
-Echoes early parenthood— really important to take some alone time. This is a long game.
-I try to remind myself this is a really rare occasion that I might not have this kind of close, intimate time with my son. To see him growing, even though I feel tired. Because I don’t have time for myself.
-Older son reading a lot.
-Important to have a schedule and to get outside.
-Daily Flow (including order of events and time outside) but w/o restrictive times.
-Eases anxiety and prepares them for success when they know what to expect in the day. Sets expectations for the day.
-When child is ready for a shift, child might go to schedule to ask/go to what’s next.
-Sharing picture of chaos (I have so many pictures of chaos) rather than the perfect activity. Reminds us it’s normal to have things be a little messy or wild.
-Even if my son doesn’t get out, I (parent) need to get out.
-Important to take a break from the news.
-Get a break.
-Cup of coffee or tea to self.
-Go on a walk.
-Cut each other (co-parent) slack.
-Bubbles to breathe through.
-Walk in the neighborhood.
-Playing with long-forgotten toys.
-PBS- LEGO challenge.
-Only build with the red Legos.
-Rest, play, Grow (book).
-Scavenger hunt (drawing in window, teddy bear in window).
-Scavenger hunt on homes.
-Each family Share story at home.
-Science experiments- balloons, volcanoes…
Ways to Connect Virtually
Some Things That Have Come Up
-I usually work so much and I’m enjoying slowing down a bit and seeing the rhythm of their (parent and children’s) day.
-We may be reminded of Inter-generational trauma that lies beneath.
-Innocent and hopeful with big brother too. Time to play and be silly with less responsibility.
Having predictable routines will likely support families during the extended school closure. “Predictable routines send a message to children’s brains that the world is safe and secure— a critical step to reduce anxiety, which can keep kids up at night.” (Mindshift)
Visual schedules give children a clear idea of what the sequence and expectations of the day are. As I’ve chatted with HFP parents, I’ve learned that having a flow of the day without specific times attached feels more authentic and flexible. Thanks to Katie, Cyan and Theresa for sharing the schedules they use in their homes.
🧩 Free play downstairs
(Mama clean, coffee and shower)
Snack/Dress, brush teeth and hair
️ Outside play
🧩 Free play downstairs
(Mama clean and laundry)
Outside time/Walk Layla
Writing and art at kitchen table
Help with dinner
By HFP alumni parent, Silvia Selvatica (children nearly 8 yrs and 6 yrs).
I have been feeling a lot of throwbacks to my early days of parenting and my years as a stay-at-home parent. It can mess with my head or make me feel grateful- that I don’t, on top of it all, have an infant keeping me up all night. I just have anticipatory grief and homesickness in my (deep) sleep. Not sure which is more brutal.
My heart goes out to new parents navigating this and that. Heart and power to you!!
- What parents do can contribute to children’s anxiety
- How to tell if kids or parents are not coping well in this crisis
- Get help to stay out of isolation
- Check-in with your kids
- Lower your expectations for yourself
- A simple way to “loosely” schedule children’s days
- Push back at work:
- This is not business as usual