Parenting is not easy at the best time and it is definitely not the best time. It was quite difficult to try to keep the children happy, healthy and busy in the summer, when they could be trapped at home, isolated from friends and grandparents and without experience with camping or family trips. School is now starting and children (and parents) have to go to school or try to learn at a distance during a pandemic.
We asked some parents who work at Vox Media to describe how they deal with their children's needs and their own stress as they try to be the best parent in these circumstances. Here are their answers.
"SOME EXERCISE THAT IS SHOWN IN THE PRACTICE OF ACADEMIC, CREATIVE AND PROFITABLE ACTIVITIES."
We used the same system when we switched to distance education in March and plan to use it again when the children return to distance education in September. We will create a school time regime with regular breaks for food and outdoor games and a reminder for all the children to take part in their meetings Zoom - no more pressure on our parents to remember everything for them!
BASIC INTERIOR DESIGN CHANGES
Who knew wireless headphones would make a difference in my child's comfort during video calls? Not me! But we moved on to Bluetooth headphones and the number of hours the child left and took out the computer, and everything else on the board was reduced from 836 hours a week to zero. Also, the requests of "Mom, could you give me an X?" Thanks, technology.
“WHO KNEW THAT CORDLESS HEADPHONES WOULD MAKE SUCH A DIFFERENCE IN MY KID’S COMFORT WHILE ON VIDEO CALLS?”
Some major changes in the interior design around the house have come a long way and helped the child become more self-sufficient in activities. There are frequently used items such as handicrafts, glue, tools, paper and cardboard so that she can help herself. This helped her reduce her dependence on me during the day and gave her more freedom to start things whenever she wanted. Move snacks, plates, cups and dishes to the lower kitchen cabinets so she can help herself. While the general organization of things in the house is not a great thing, it is now optimized for children and has helped ensure that everyone is more comfortable and less stressful at all times.
LOWER THE BAR
As a family with a very energetic seven and five year old, we have many little tips for overcoming this pandemic. None of them have been that useful. The most valuable thing I can share is to help our family lower the bar. As parents in a pre-pandemic world, we have put tremendous pressure on ourselves to ensure that our children receive the best education / socialization / parenting. How it was? Lots of play dates, extracurricular activities, camps, screen time limits and the list goes on. When the pandemic hit, not only did these things go wrong, but we felt panicked over all the "losses" our children have suffered. What if we let our children watch too much TV? What would happen if they didn't join society? Would they go back to school? Initially, Zooms did too much and it took some time to fill in the gaps due to busy plans. It was exhausting and, most importantly, unsustainable.
“WHATEVER [THE KIDS] LOST IN ‘DEVELOPMENT,’ THEY GAINED IN HAVING PARENTS WHO WERE NOT EXHAUSTED AND OVERWHELMED.”
At the end of spring, we decided to lower the bar. We have free rules for time spent on the device. Our daily trip was a walk in the park and most days we were busy with work, there were no specific activities. We decided to rent a house for a month near the beach and let them run without Zoom camp or school. No swimming lessons or academic enrichment. They watched TV, played video games and spent the whole day on the beach. And it was great. Whatever they lost in "development," they managed to have parents who were not exhausted and overwhelmed. As the summer draws to a close, we hope to bring this pressureless approach to the school year and hope it will help us through a challenging and difficult year.
Our son will be a junior in high school this year, and we have just given in to the idea that whatever happens, it’s not going to be typical in any way. His school is going to try a hybrid model — two days in school in small pods, the rest remote — and we’re pretty apprehensive about it. Even the teenager doesn’t think it’s going to last long, but he wants to at least try it. They went all remote in the spring, and at that time, it seemed like schools were getting guidance from the state, at least. Now, it seems like school districts are all just winging it.