by Janet Simonsen, Springfield Public Schools
Early learning Coordinator & Family Educator
During the pandemic, a lot is being asked of parents. Our roles at home, work and the community have changed. Living together in close proximity and spending more time together may present challenges. It’s not uncommon for parents and kids to experience increased frustrations with each other.
Siblings may demonstrate increased incidents of teasing and arguing. Sibling squabbles are very common and normal. If they become excessive, they are not only annoying, but may encourage the development of unkind personality traits.
Set firm limits for what will and will not be tolerated. Examples include: no hitting, name calling, or picking on someone’s known area of vulnerability.
Designate a private place for each family member to store their personal belongings. Work on mutual respect for this concept. If possible, try to find some daily “alone time” for each family member.
Some parent/child relationships are easier than others. Try to spend some individual time with each child. This is a good way to nurture their unique personalities and interests.
Many families have reduced disputes by establishing a daily routine and chore list.
Try to ignore sibling disputes as much as possible. It’s almost impossible to be an impartial referee. If you have to intervene, attempt to hear both sides. Focus on helping kids solve conflicts in a peaceful and effective way. Encourage them to identify and express their feelings.
There are many positives about staying home, but it’s important that parents and caregivers focus on their own stress and anxiety levels, too. Be honest about your feelings.
Reach out to family and friends. Attempt to role model and maintain a positive attitude. Be kind to yourself.