Parenting during the pandemic
“WE take care of ourselves; we take care of our families; we take care of our communities and we take care of our country. Controlling Covid-19 infection is the responsibility of the MOH (Ministry of Health) and the responsibility of the people.
This is a shared social responsibility,” wrote Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on his Facebook page on June 7, 2020.
Four months have passed and his advice still rings true today. Covid-19 made a comeback, causing more havoc. Coincidentally, the government via the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) had declared November as National Family Month. Suffice it to say, this year’s celebration will have to be severely scaled down in line with the new norm.
However, the task of taking care of our family must never be neglected. We can start by checking if we’re being the right role model for our children. Do we diligently follow the standard operating procedure (SOP)? How about physical distancing? Are we observing it strictly? What about when we come home? Do we wash our hands first?
Sandra Dupont, a parenting columnist with The Huffington Post, wrote: “The foundation of effective parenting is leading by example. When children observe how we treat them and others, they learn how to behave. A parent’s interaction with their child literally impacts their child’s brain development, and parenting styles can be passed down through generations.”
It’s true that children will not always remember what we said, but they almost always do what we do.
FACTORING THE DISRUPTIONS
Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning about dealing with family and children during this difficult time. Some children and young people may be feeling more isolated, anxious, bored and uncertain. They may feel fear and grief over the impact of the virus on their families.
Besides physical health, the WHO has also released posters related to parenting during the pandemic. “It’s hard to stay positive when our kids and teenagers are driving us crazy. We often end up saying “Stop doing that!” But children are much more likely to do what we ask if we give them positive instructions and lots of praise for what they do right,” proposed WHO.
“Use positive words when telling your child what to do. For example, “please put your clothes away” (instead of “don’t make a mess”). Shouting at your child will make you and them more stressed and angrier. Get your child’s attention by using their name. Speak in a calm voice,” it advised.
Praise your child when they behave well. It’ll reinforce the good behaviour. It also sends a signal that you notice and you care. Be realistic in your expectations. No child can sit still for more than 15 minutes.
So, if we must work from home, factor the disruptions into our routine and manage them positively. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. After all, our job isn’t just to take care of ourselves and them physically; it’s also mentally.
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