Parenting During a Pandemic: A Letter to Parents

Parenting During a Pandemic: A Letter to Parents

Dear Parents:

You are heroes! Truly. In one month you have taken on so many additional full-time roles: classroom/preschool teacher, counselor, coach, zoom conference coordinator, lunch lady, and _____________ (fill in the blank). The current situation has taken the concept of “multi-tasking” to a whole new level.

Below I have compiled a handful of resources for parenting during the Age of Coronavirus. I hope that some of them will be helpful to you and your loved ones! 

Warm regards,
Danielle Michaelis Castillo

Talking with kids about Coronavirus:

Coronavirus: A Book for Children a book just published by Nosy Crow, a British children’s publisher, available as a free download; to help explain the virus to children
CDC Guide for Talking with Children

NYTimes article lists additional free picture book resources (different age groups) for talking with kids about the virus

For when you need a homeschooling break – sit side by side with your school aged child(ren) and connect the them to Audible via headphones. A lovely narrator will read them a story while you have some time to join a mindfulness practice via UCSD’s Center for Mindfulness.

Audible Free Audio Books for Kids (infant through teens ). Free until schools re-open; includes Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Book 1 read by actor Stephen Fry – this listen is truly a magical and theatrical experience

UCSD Center for Mindfulness is offering free live and recorded mindfulness practices and resources (for adults)

Reading for parents working from home:
8 Tips for Working From Home With Kids During COVID-19 (Yale Medicine)

The Reasons Zoom Calls Drain Your Energy (and what to do about it)

Feeling discouraged? Be gentle with yourself and listen to something inspirational:
How to Go Easy On Yourself in a Pandemic from the Ten Percent Happier Podcast (talk w/ Kristen Neff, Ph.D whose research focuses on self-compassion)

Brene Brown Ted Talk (researcher and author Brene Brown’s 2010 Ted Talk is so relevant to our situation in this moment: vulnerability, courage, and belonging versus “not good enough” self-talk)  

Managing relationship conflict:
Conflict and Connecting in Crisis from the Gottman Institute

NY Times article on communicating and managing conflict (adults)

Other free Resources/Activities:

Raddish Kids (hands-on) – incorporate math, science, and language arts through cooking. This website currently offers an array of recipes that are fun to make, tasty, and build kids’ self-confidence during uncertain times. 

NatGEO@ Home (on-line) – National Geographic’s website offers fun activities and educational games for families. Whether you have 5 minutes or 30 minutes, this website can offer a great way to connect. Activities update daily.

3 Steps for Managing Emotions During COVID-19

3 Steps for Managing Emotions During COVID-19

Well, the past two weeks have been quite the roller coaster. Social distancing became an everyday phrase, schools closed, the governor issued a stay at home order, and as of today, even the parks are closed. The events of this week have triggered intense emotions as households have been affected in various ways. 

Anxiety, anger, fear, boredom, and grief are all emotions that may be showing up in your home. Here are four steps to help yourself (and/or others) manage intense emotions:

  1. Identify and name the emotion. According to a 2007 UCLA study, just naming a negative emotion can help us reduce distress. For more on the study, click here. For a chart of emotions, click here.
  2. Look for the root cause. Is it uncertainty about the future, financial stress, suddenly living in close quarters 24/7 with family members, constant news/information checking, not sure how much longer the TP at your house will last even with rationing? All of these?  Right now, uncertainty about the future is sure to be at the root of a lot of emotions.
  3. Be in the present, the here and now. Ask yourself: What can I do in this moment that will be helpful? Can I accept the current situation (uncertainty) and focus on what I can do in this moment? Do I need to practice self-care right now so that I can better show up for myself and those around me? Self-care looks very different for everyone but should help you feel better able to cope with emotions by bringing you into the Here and Now.

Examples of self-care include:

  • A 5-minute mindfulness app exercise (Headspace, Calm, etc)
  • 10 minutes of yoga or gentle stretching with an online community or by yourself
  • A two-hour moratorium on news or social media checking — put the phone down and walk away slowly : )
  • Baking
  • Working on a puzzle (you know, the old fashioned kind)
  • Playing an instrument
  • Singing along to your favorite music or watching a video of people around the world singing together across balconies (Italy, Boston, etc.)
  • Downloading an online book or audiobook and immersing yourself in someone else’s story (I’ll be listing some titles on facebook and Instagram this week)
  • Watching a comedy show (please skip any heavy or catastrophe related themes for now)
  • Engaging in any physical activity such as vacuuming, push ups, or watering plants
  • _______________ (fill in the blank)