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Ways to curb frustration as a social-distancing parent

Mom at table frustrated looking at papers

With the coronavirus pandemic, children are home all the time! Which is safe, but that means parents aren’t just parents - they are now teachers, caretakers, chefs, entertainers, housekeepers and everything else to their child. It’s a lot for anyone to manage.

With all these roles and no place to go, frustration may mount. Here are some ways to curb that frustration as a parent while we’re all staying safe at home.

  1. Keep kids on a schedule.

It’s extremely important to keep kids on a schedule! Kids need a routine and their behavior will be far better when you stick to one. Use the schedule your child’s teacher gave you for schoolwork. There are online sample schedules and activities if you need ideas. Be sure to also build in time for recess and free time. You can find workout videos, yoga videos, or get outside and play together. Kids need physical activity to get their wiggles out. Join your child for this physical activity, it will refresh you as well!

It’s also important to keep bedtime routines consistent just like when kids are going to school. Bedtimes vary based on your child’s age so just ensure they are getting enough sleep. Tired kids are cranky kids.

  1. Keep kids fed.

Kids also need 3 meals a day and snacks. Older kids can tell you when they are hungry, but our toddlers and infants can’t so they may misbehave or have tantrums due to hunger. If you have any difficulty obtaining food during this time, check with your child’s school about free meal programs. Some of our local restaurants are also providing free meals to families. 

Children’s Mercy is offering FREE lunch to all children ages 1 – 18. Click here to find locations and times for Children’s Mercy Free Lunch Program.  

  1. Take care of yourself, too.

As parents, we HAVE to take care of ourselves to be able to give 100% to our child. Physical activity, yoga, cooking, crafts, whatever you need to do to keep stress under control needs to be practiced during this time. Parents need sleep and regular meals too. Therapy offices can do telemed visits. Facetime friends and family. If your child can read have them FaceTime grandparents and read them a story. It’s OK for parents to take timeout breaks for themselves if they are feeling overwhelmed. We are all socially isolated, but we are not alone.  

While we’re all at home, that also means fewer protective eyes are on children. Some parents may struggle during this time and as neighbors, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, teachers - any adult who sees children during their day owes it to a child to speak up for them. Kids aren’t allowed to leave their homes and get respite at school, after school activities, church, etc. If something seems off report it. If you see children with a visible injury that you are concerned about, report it. If neglect due to lack of resources are concerns, help connect that person to community resources.

For helpful resources to ask for help or report child abuse, please call 1 (800) 392-3738 in Missouri or 1 (800) 922-5330 in Kansas.

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