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Surviving Motherhood: Parenting during a pandemic

Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 3:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Parents, we’re sharing what you need to know about COVID-19 when it comes to young kids.

One of the few mercies of the spreading coronavirus is that it leaves young children virtually untouched — a mystery virologists say may hold vital clues as to how the virus works.

Even though young children don’t become sick from the virus, they can be carriers. So, keep that in mind when you think about taking the kids to grandmas... or to visit the elderly.

Talk to your kids about what’s happening

So, what do you need to do when you are you’re talking about this virus with your children?

First of all, be open and honest with them. Allow them to ask you questions and break down things in a kid friendly way.

Also, monitor what they see on TV and online. Some of the things we are seeing now are scary and don’t necessarily paint a true picture of what this virus is or how it spreads.

Lastly, remind your kids the importance of fighting germs, washing hands, and using hand sanitizer.

Prepare for the possibility of canceled school, work

All over the country, people are cancelling events and large gatherings because of the constant fear of contracting the virus. That includes schools. So, what happens if your child’s school or daycare closes? The idea is to not wait until that happens to get your plans together.

First off, talk to your boss.

You need to understand not just how the workplace plan will affect you, but how it will affect other employees as a unit.

Think through the different scenarios that may play out in the upcoming weeks (e.g., if your child’s school is closed but your workplace is not).

Let your boss know the purpose of your conversation — to clarify your mutual expectations for different COVID-19 scenarios: “Here is my understanding of how we might handle this situation. Do I have it right? What am I missing?”

Get on the same page as your parenting partner

Even under the best circumstances, figuring out how to share childcare and housework responsibilities with a parenting partner can be fraught with frustration and resentment. (Note that “parenting partner” refers to anyone with whom you share responsibility for raising children, even if they aren’t your spouse. And this may include a paid child-care provider).

With the looming prospect that one, or both, of you may need to adjust your schedules to accommodate school or work closures and childcare disruptions, you should begin, proactively, to talk about possible solutions.

Mobilize your village

We’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a child. Now’s the time to get yours in place in a more deliberate way. While it may not be feasible to trade-off childcare responsibilities (depending on quarantine restrictions), consider other ways in which you can make things easier for one another — whether it’s sharing creative activities to keep the kids entertained or taking turns grocery shopping.

Like how one of us is now teaching classes via webinar — with each student on their own laptop, having conversations in virtual breakout rooms — kids can get together for virtual play dates, in groups of various sizes. Be open to new ways of doing things.

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