Parenting in a Pandemic: Uncovering Covid’s Effects on Family Wellbeing
Juggling career and home life demands while navigating the instability of school closures and reopenings has left many parents feeling depleted. Similarly, the fear of illness paired with less peer-to-peer interaction has resulted in many children experiencing physical and social isolation.
We surveyed 500 participants to find out how the pandemic has affected the sleep, stress and mood of both parents and children during this unprecedented time.
Here’s what we found:
- 37% say their kids are being educated fully remotely; 35% say it’s a bit of both.
- 3 out of 5 parents say helping manage their kids’ school this year has been a major contributor to their overall stress.
- Before the pandemic, around 8% of children had high anxiety. This figure has risen to 46% this past year. That’s a 475% increase in high anxiety rates.
* 4 out of 10 kids are sleeping worse compared to before the pandemic; 1 out of 10 are getting better sleep. * 44% of kids are still primarily socializing in person. * 32% of parents say their relationship with their kids has become more challenging this year; 30% say their relationship has improved. * 65% of parents saw behavioral changes in kids, namely:
📱 More tech usage (80%)
✏️ Difficulty focusing/staying on task (59%)
😠 Shorter temper/more easily frustrated (59%)
😴 More difficulty falling/staying asleep (41%)
The good news is there are things we can do today to feel better tomorrow. Here are some tips for both parents and children to reduce anxiety and find peace as a family:
Tips for Kids
Make time for social interaction. While protecting physical health is paramount, socializing remains important for development and stress relief. As the world begins to reopen, consider encouraging safe social activities outdoors. It’s normal for kids to feel “out of practice” and weary of reintegrating to physical hangouts, so start small.
Nurture growth. Did your child pick up a new hobby, or have extra time to improve their skills on an instrument, a sport, or craft? Did they display any acts of courage or compassion this year, however small? Take a moment to celebrate these wins and learning experiences.
Start a dialogue. It can be difficult for children to communicate their emotions. Set time aside to gauge levels of anxiety, fatigue, or worries that may be affecting them.
Get outside. People are spending less time outdoors since the pandemic began. Getting back to nature is an easy and free way to quiet anxiety while bonding as a family.
Introduce meditation. Mindfulness is a valuable stress management tool that can be learned from a young age. Begin with shorter meditations, which are ideal for kids. BetterSleep has many different meditations, including ones designed specifically to teach the fundamentals of mindfulness to children. Try “Relaxing Ohm Chant”, “Bedtime Gratitude”, or any of the other narrated content that can be found under the “For Kids” tab.
Tips for Parents
Prioritize self-care. Take a moment for yourself each day, no matter how short. Self-care comes in many forms and can help you build resilience in a difficult time. We’re best suited to care for others once we’ve taken the time to care for ourselves.
Find support. We’re only human. Don’t be afraid to seek support from your partner, family, friends, a therapist, or even a parenting hotline. You can also find many active support groups online.
Switch up your self-talk. Parenting is rewarding but it’s also very difficult, even in normal times. Try to speak to yourself in a compassionate tone and know that you’re doing the best you can.
Embrace the (new) routine. Daily life might look a lot different than it did before the pandemic. It’s normal to miss the way things were, especially if you’re feeling pent up at home. Try to embrace the good parts of your new schedule, like being able to enjoy a few more sips of coffee each morning.
Disconnect. Try to put your devices away at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Use tech-free time as an opportunity to talk, read, or write your to-do list for the following day.
The anxiety and worries of daily life can build up quickly to the point where they negatively impact our sleep, mood, and how we interact with those around us. Remember to take time for yourself each day, even if it’s just 10 minutes. It’s amazing what a little self-nurturing can do.
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