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Here's What Parents Dealing With Isolation Want You To Know

Self-isolation and parenting

Parenting while practicing self-isolation is not about doing everything a hundred percent all the time. It's about doing as much as you possibly can.

Something is better than nothing, and many "somethings" will add up over time.


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Here's What Parents Dealing With Isolation Want You To Know

Here's What Parents Dealing With Isolation Want You To Know


Key Ideas

Self-isolation and parenting

Parenting while practicing self-isolation is not about doing everything a hundred percent all the time. It's about doing as much as you possibly can.

Something is better than nothing, and many "somethings" will add up over time.

It's really, really hard

It's hard to work from home and parent. Working from home full time during regular workday hours, care for your children, and sprinkle in a mix of homeschooling, is essentially asking parents to do multiple full-time jobs simultaneously.

  • Many parents relax screen time rules for now.
  • Get on a schedule if you find it helpful, or refuse to feel guilty for lack of a schedule.
  • Set up many FaceTime and Zoom dates with your friends and your kid's friends, and grandparents.
  • Understanding the situation of working-from-home-parents will go a long way by not holding their diminished productivity against them.
  • If you're a manager, there's no harm in announcing at the beginning of your conference call that it's OK if there are little voices from time to time.

Explaining the unsure future to children.

  • It is best to be honest when you have to talk about when a child will be going back to school or reschedule their birthday party when you don't know yourself.
  • You can say that some scientists think it would be a few months, but you don't really know yet. Then ask them how they feel about that and if they have questions. See what information you can find together.

Childcare and playdates

Regular childcare could make working from home more feasible, but knowing if it is wise at this point is not as straightforward.

  • Some nannies are willing to move in with the family.
  • If you and your kid's grandparents have self-isolated, and no one has developed symptoms, it may be safe to interact with each other.
  • Playdates with another family might work only if everyone involved has been in full isolation.
  • If you are not a parent and want to offer some help, offer to take the dog for a walk, help in the yard, or do some outdoor work.

Not every parent has the option

Some parents won't have the option of working from home and may have to consider sending their children to grandparents. Parents providing vital services like healthcare won't be able to fully isolate their children from germs. Then there is also the question of future care if both parents get sick.

Parents can lessen their anxiety by making plans and backup plans, and those who are without children and healthy can help alleviate the burden by offering themselves as potential caregivers.

Pregnant or a new parent

Adjusting to life with a newborn without any in-person support from friends and family can be very unnerving. There is not much info on the new virus as it pertains to pregnant women. Other expectant parents are worried about what they will have to do when it's time to give birth if the hospitals become overburdened.

We should be mindful of how new families will be affected. Check in a lot. Send the takeout food you planned to give. Listen when they talk.

Kids with special needs

  • Kids with special needs will be without services like a behavioralist, OT, speech-language pathologist, counselor, or supportive teachers.
  • Children with severe disabilities will have to delay therapy. It could potentially cause long-term damage.
  • Children in foster care may face further estrangement from parents who are recovering from substance abuse.

If you're not a parent facing these challenges, you can help by offering access to specific brands some kids need because of allergies. Or you can ask what parents need, including money or just the opportunity to talk.

Tweens and teens

Children with divorced parents have to figure out where to stay for the next month or more, feeling guilty to be with the one parent and scared the other might die. Other teens will be missing their proms and graduations. It could be a major disappointment to them.

  • Give your teen time to process with you their frustration, sadness, and loss. Then figure out what would really make them feel better - more time with you, walking the dog, writing it all out. Figure out a game plan.
  • If you don't have children, offer any sort of connection with a teen, Offer a Skype or FaceTime talk about anything, offer help with homework, or teaching them something.

Domestic violence

Quarantine restrictions and economic pressures may take its toll if you're living with an abusive partner or parent.

If you know a parent in a situation that is compromised, check in on them and try to create opportunities for them to speak to you. You may even consider opening your home to them.



Remote work and children

Many working parents are facing working from home with kids and without access to babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might generally rely on.

It won't be smooth sailing ...

Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule: At the beginning of each day, decide who will be the 'on point' parent. That person will work at the dining room table, feed the kids and suggest activities, while the other parent works in a different room.

One parent can also work before the children are awake, then you can stagger work times during the day, and the other parent can work when the children are in bed.

Be Up Front With Your Boss

Before you make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children, talk to your boss or HR.

Let them know that your transition to home also means being responsible for your children. Create a schedule that you can share with your boss and assure them of your commitment to maintaining the level of excellence they expect.

If you clearly communicate your needs, you will decrease the level of stress and also open the door for coworkers to follow suit.

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Art Activities

Art Activities
  • Basic coloring and drawing.
  • Butcher paper. Unroll it, then let the kids color on the floor. Or put it on the wall if you have room.

Physical activities

  • Dance Party: Turn on music and dance around.
  • Simulate outdoor scenes. Re-create different outdoor scenes in different parts of the house—for instance, a camping scene with a fort in one room and an island in another.
  • Jumping jacks.
  • Bathtub. Just let the kids hang out in there under supervision. They can get creative in there, and the mess is contained.
  • Take advantage of the outdoor space. Use what you have, even just opening the window and making up stories about what you see out there.


  • Stacking toys like Magna-Tiles. the kids will build things and then smash them down. Smashing is the most enjoyable part.
  • Workbooks and puzzles.
  • Variations on Uno

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Smartphones and Social Media

Across age groups, social media is potentially hazardous, with its tendency to amplify the social divide.

There is a strong relationship between anxiety/depression and the use of smartphones, particularly social media usage among kids, though the data also seem to show the positive effects of staying connected with their peers. Online distractions also make youngsters give up their offline life, leading to isolation and further depression.

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