Many Utah parents are working from hoe during the pandemic, and with schools closed, have been juggling responsibilities of parenting young children with job requirements. Now that summer is here, for many parents, the juggling will continue for the foreseeable future.
We talked with Callie Kofoed, Certified Life Specialist at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital for some help juggling responsibilities of parenting while working from home.
Child life specialists at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital help patients cope with such stress through play, education, and normalization of the medical environment. Some of their techniques also can be used at home to help kids and their families thrive in challenging times.
Kofoed says it's important to establish a daily routine to promote a sense of control, predictability, and well-being for parents and for children.
• Enlist your children`s input in creating a schedule.
• Post the schedule where they can see.
• Allow for variety & choice within a schedule to keep children engaged. It`s important to plan for 'wake up & get ready time,' outdoors time, independent play time, and other activities. Limit screen time for yourself and your child.
• Give children cues to help transition to activities throughout the day, such as a fun alarm or music.
• For times you cannot be interrupted, find a fun and creative way to communicate that to your family, like by wearing a silly hat or tying a ribbon to the doorknob.
• Stay flexible, and revise the schedule as needed.
• Allow grace while managing schedules. Celebrate when things go well, and forgive yourself when they don't.
Make time for play every day. Play is a child's language and critical for development. Spend time outside. Find things to celebrate, look forward to, and to smile and laugh about every day. Even 10 minutes of play time is helpful.
Use your work breaks to connect with your children. Have lunch together. Take walks together. Do a household chore together.
Plan one-on-one time in their schedules with each child, every day, and give them your full attention. No phones Most kids will need less attention from parents when they have that time to connect and feel they have their parent`s full attention at some point during the day.
Make it a priority to connect with family and friends to help children know they are loved and supported. Use technology to connect and show friends or grandparents a project your child made while you were working, read together, sing songs or talk while you're working.
Look for service opportunities.
Listen to and validate your childrens' feelings and concerns while providing hope and assurance that this is temporary. Children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Reassure children that they are safe, and this will not last forever.
Take care of yourself so you can best take care of your children. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise, if even for a few minutes. Ask for help when you need it from family and friends. If you need additional support, the Intermountain Healthcare Emotional Health Relief Hotline may be able to provide help. Call 833-442-2211.
You can find more information at intermountainhealthcare.org