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Parenting in a Pandemic and a Midwestern Winter…

Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

It seems that winter has set in even sooner this year, with our first snow coming even before Halloween. As we look forward to this impending winter season, it is evident that there will be new challenges this year.

One thing I have been grateful for is so far we’ve had pretty good weather since the pandemic started. But now that the seasons are turning, it’s time to get creative. This year as the thermometer drops and our days grow shorter, let’s work to be proactive and come out on the other side of the winter months a little bit stronger… or at least alright!

There are many things at play with the winter months. Our bodies naturally slow down with the reduced temperatures and sunlight; however, our children continue to have the same need for activity and connection. And with the reduced social contact, they may even have an increased need for emotional support.

So how do we, as parents, cope with all the pressure and the constant demands of parenthood during this time?

  1. Self Care: In order to keep helping, serving, teaching, etc, you first need to be well! We are emotionally connected to our children, so we feel their stress and they also feel ours. Reducing our stress actually reduces theirs! Win/Win
  2. Realistic expectations: Good enough is good enough. Prioritize that which is urgent, and allow some things to slide when needed.
  3. Connection: Do not forget to stay connected- talk to adults! Don’t underestimate the power of adult conversation!
  4. Try not to compare: What works for another family may or may not work for yours, and that is perfectly ok.
  5. Celebrate the wins! They may be big or small, but with so much focus on the negative and the scary these days, it’s the little wins that can help us through the harder days!
  6. Take breaks: Labor laws state that breaks are essential for wellness of employees. The work you do to raise your little bundles of sunshine, is no different. Breaks are essential. Find ways to use your support system for breaks, incorporate quiet time into your daily schedule, ask for help. Try setting a timer to ensure your quiet time does not get interrupted unless, for emergencies of course!
  7. Exercise: Make fitness a part of your routine. The days that we really aren’t motivated to be active are likely the days we need it the most! Being active is essential for our physical and emotional health, and now is no exception to this rule.
  8. Practice Gratitude: It can really help us to feel less stressed. Trying starting a gratitude journal, or sharing what you are grateful for out loud with your family daily at mealtime or before bedtime.

You’ve got this!

- Katie Perricone

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