Parenting During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to parenting. Helping children feel safe and secure and maintaining your own health are paramount.
Keeping Your Family Safe and Calm
Your children depend on you for safety, both physical and emotional. These tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics can help:
- Answer their questions about the pandemic simply and honestly, in an age-appropriate way. Say that following rules like handwashing and staying home will help your family stay healthy.
- Recognize your child's feelings. For example, say calmly, “I can see that you are upset because you can't have your friends over." With teenagers, try working out solutions together — for example, “I know that it’s hard not to be able to hang out with your friends. How do you think you can stay in touch with them?”
- Keep in touch with loved ones. Children may also worry about a grandparent who is living alone. Video chats can help ease their anxiety.
- Model how to manage feelings. Talk through how you are managing your own feelings. (“I am worried about Grandma since I can't go visit her. The best I can do is to check in with her more often by phone. I will put a reminder on my phone to call her in the morning and the afternoon until this outbreak ends.")
- Tell your child before you leave the house for work or essential errands. In a calm and reassuring voice, tell them where you are going, how long you will be gone, when you will return, and that you are taking steps to stay safe.
- Look forward. Tell them that scientists are working hard to figure out how to help people who get ill, and that things will get better.
- Offer extra hugs and say, “I love you" more often.
You can find a wealth of additional expert, supportive information about parenting during these unsettled times — from bringing a newborn home to helping children with masks, to disinfecting your home at the American Academy of Pediatrics parenting website at healthychildren.org.