Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world, and also the most fulfilling. There’s a whole science behind parenting that many of us are not aware of. In addition, there are highly complex situations – like the pandemic’s impact on children’s mental health – where parents might struggle to handle things on their own.
In such situations, it’s completely okay for parents to ask for help to figure out the best way to raise their children. In ‘Ask the Parenting Expert’, our psychologists answer your common queries and introduce you to some expert-recommended tools and approaches.
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Theme: Parenting during COVID-19 times
How can I spend quality time with children if I have a heavy workload?
The answer lies in setting routines. If you plan your day well, you should get 10-15 minutes to spend with your child. These can be around the time you wake up the child or put them to bed.
But if that’s not possible, you can set a ‘weekend rhythm’ where you spend 30-45 minutes with them on Saturdays and Sundays. By marking these times as gadget-free and by having fun conversations or playing board games, you can bond with your child. The child gets the sense of being heard and being around people in the house.
Setting a routine can be tough, but it can be achieved through repeated effort. Also, it’s important that you don’t blame yourself if you’re unable to take time on a given day or week. Sometimes we have to prioritise our role as an employee, and at other times as a parent.
My child is finding it difficult to readjust to school and keeps complaining about everything, from the heat to homework. What can I do to prepare him/her better?
Change is always hard and transitions take time. When a child complains, what we hear is that they don’t want to go to school. Sometimes that’s because parents project their own anxieties on the child.
Instead, empathise with the emotion they feel and give them a possible solution. It's all right for them to come home and say “I had a bad day”. In fact, it's an opportunity for you to teach them that things may not be pleasant always and to prepare them for the struggles they may have to face later in life. Also, it’s a good idea to gently redirect them to the positive aspects of the lockdown ending, and how they can do things that they missed out on for two years.
Tolerance and gratitude are important life lessons and will see them through many crises.