Parenting expert Dr. Deborah Gilboa is here to help parents navigate new quarantine normals. Good news for parents of toddlers, she shares they are not going to be developmentally or psychologically affected during this time. Being inside and missing their friends at the playground may be uncomfortable, but she says, "Uncomfortable is not unsafe. In this case, uncomfortable is actually safer."
What Rules Can Go Out the Window:
Dr. G shares to give yourself plenty of grace during this time while not digging yourself too deep a hole. She advises that the sooner you can implement structure in the home, the better. She shares that leaving days without rules or structure -- what she calls "Disneyland days" -- could actually make your kids more anxious.
If you let your preschooler go wild, you're going to struggle to backpedal, but she acknowledges that some changes are okay to peacefully get through this new social distancing.
Dr. G shares some rules that are okay to bend during this time:
- Having extra technology use during this time is sustainable and reasonable
- If you don’t stress about nutrition for a couple days, you can reign that back in pretty easily
- Letting go of your normal bedtime is okay as long as your kid is still getting the same amount of sleep, otherwise she warns that you'll both be tired and miserable
But here are the rules Dr. G wants you to remain firm on:
- Changing your rules about where kids can sleep can be hard. If you let kids sleep more than once somewhere you don’t want them sleeping (like your bed), it’s a long hike back.
- Don't change your rules about how your kids can speak to you, hitting, or grabbing.
What To Do If Everyday Is Take Your Kid to Work Day:
If you're worried about juggling work and childcare, Dr. G shares that this is a time of solidarity. You don’t have to pretend that you’re not at home and you’re not with your kids. Also, it gives you the opportunity to show your kids what you do. She says you can tell them, "I work for our family and I do something that helps us."
For All Parents -- How to Help Your Kids Develop Coping Strategies for Resiliency:
Dr. G shares that right now is a perfect time to model coping mechanisms for your kids. Statistically, 99.8 percent of all kids are going to live through the pandemic. That’s fantastic! However, they are going to face other times of major upheaval and uncertainty in their lives so the most important thing right now is they are learning how to manage these times.
What can we do:
Dr. G shares that you should make a list of all the things you do to make yourself feel better or comfort yourself like listening to music, 20 minutes of yoga, a long hug, a quick nap, and whenever you feel uneasy, pick something from your list.
She shares to make a list with your child too, so they have their own list of coping strategies on hand as well. By modeling and encouraging this behavior, you are setting your kid up to tackle all times of upheaval and uncertainty in their lives, not just this one. For more suggestions and help, check out Dr. G's site and learn how to develop resiliency in your kids.
*Stay informed on the latest information on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and learn about prevention methods and what to do if you are infected.