Parenting can be difficult, but family life is changing dramatically during the social isolation caused by COVID-19. The good news is that children perform well in an extraordinary variety of contexts. Emerging evidence suggests that low stress, especially in the context of a supportive parent-child relationship, can be particularly beneficial as it increases resilience and copes with future challenges.
As scientists in clinical psychology, our research focuses on how parent-child relationships can support healthy development, especially in stressful contexts.
Here are some research-based strategies to help you enjoy this unprecedented moment.
1. Notice what’s going well
Because you live close to each other, it's easy to take care of anything that goes wrong so children can help more resiliently. If your children are praised and told you appreciate their efforts, they will pay for it promptly by encouraging more positive behaviors and enriching your relationships.
You can design anything you want to see more. "Thank you for saying that, please when you (your third party) asked for snacks" or "Great job, just sit so calm!"
2. Plan (a little)
Children benefit from being able to anticipate small things and have some control. If you want to create a daily schedule - great - but it could work if you talk a few times a day about the possibilities of upcoming activities.
If you need to complete a task, such as homework or homework, try to include it in the activities that the children have chosen. Research suggests that children may choose to increase prosocial behavior. Explore models and use them to your advantage by creating additional incentives to prevent problems.
3. Get down to their level
By acquiring more quality play pieces throughout the day, children can manage emotions and behaviors, develop cognitive skills, and cultivate bonds between parents and children.
It is easier to get involved when you are sitting on the floor, and you can fully dedicate yourself to it. If this is difficult for you, try coping with stupidity, high jumps, or losing yourself. Even an imaginary game can escape adults.
4. Give good directions
When you need to do something, it's good to ask once. Increase the likelihood of good leadership - get closer to your children and look them in the eye first. Ask them to complete a specific task indefinitely, in a maximum of two or three steps, depending on the child's abilities. "I want you to put this game aside and then come to dinner." Wait there and count to 20 to make sure you get an answer. If not, try "Dylan, can I arrange for the game to be canceled?" It's time for dinner. "
Make sure the statement is realistic in terms of approach and energy. An effective way to stay in control is to use a "when" statement. "Dylan, when you're done, you can choose ice cream for dessert." If it's too good to be a bribe, offer a family movie or play Super Soak.
5. Take a step back
Pay attention to how your body feels or how your thoughts sound. If you can avoid exacerbating the situation, chances are you will have a more enjoyable day.
Identify things you can do to give your partner a break, if possible, sprinkle your face with cold water or breathe in fresh air. Even five deep breaths and a reminder of the love of your home can give you the space you need to face the situation with clear intent.
6. Choose not to react (when you can)
Sometimes you ignore small demanding behaviors in the most efficient way to move during the day. Another option is to describe what you see and offer several options.
"Wow, it's a pocket of energy and it's about to squeeze the port .... They say something for sure and the kids have a catch in the game. If you say unexpected things, the kids can have some fun.
If this makes it difficult for you to get tired, try a saying approved: "Add water or fresh air". From the open window you could see ice cubes, a bath, colored water, a walk around the block or even birds or piles of dog bars.
7. Reset and move on (when you can’t)
Worried explosions or harsh words can happen to anyone. Sometimes it can help parents when they apologize briefly and kindly engage in new activities.
It is equally important not to apologize to your child, which could have the unintended consequence of making the situation worse. When in this "reset" mode, try to think about the previous points: it will be easier for you to get on with your day if you reach their level, if you are stupid or notice little positive things.
8. Be generous with affection
For all species, body comfort is a powerful way to handle stressful events. While your family time may not automatically add additional contractions or attractive handshakes, this is often exactly what children need to handle the overwhelming emotions that are felt beneath the surface.
We hope this list gives you the confidence that you can offer your children exactly what they need to feel loved, safe and supported. If you are reading this, you are probably already providing it.