Parenting is hard work! Parenting in the time of Covid can be especially challenging—full of ups and downs. There are days when everything just ‘clicks,’ and you feel like a rockstar parent. And there are days when nothing goes as planned and tensions run high. The resources in this bundle will help you remember that even on hard days, you are strong and capable. There are things you can do to connect with your child and parent with confidence.
Notice, Wonder, Respond
In this video, we see how Elmo’s parents handle their own feelings of frustration and find balance between responsibility and play.
- Before watching: Think about your daily routine lately. Has it been ‘smooth sailing’ or have there been difficult moments?
- While you watch: Notice how Louie and Mae acknowledge their own big feelings and how they work together to solve a problem.
- After watching: Write down three things that might help you feel calmer in the midst of stressful situations.
Resilience in Parenting
Resilience helps us bounce back when we fall down and keeps us going when times get tough. It involves a combination of emotional intelligence, problem solving skills, and confidence. And while we often strive to help our children build resilience skills, it can be easy to forget to check in on ourselves as parents. The fact is resilience needs to be nurtured and takes practice.
Adopting simple habits or “check-ins” throughout the day can help you hone your resilience skills. Consider these ideas:
In the morning:
- Notice your mood and try to name your feelings—without judgement. Even if you wake up feeling grumpy or just a little “off,” try not to stress about it. Instead, simply acknowledge the feeling, give it a name, and recalibrate your expectations for the day (as an example, maybe that important phone call can wait until you’re feeling a bit more positive).
- Repeat an affirmation. Say something positive about your family, yourself, and the day ahead. For instance, you might say, “My family is my team.” “I am a good mom.” “I can go with the flow.” “I don’t need to get everything done today.”
- Set priorities for your day. Review your to-do list and decide which few are most important. Consider choosing one task each to care for yourself, your family, and your work or home. Remember, you might not have time to get everything on your list completed in one day.
In the afternoon:
- Take a self-care break. Schedule 5-10 minutes each day to do something to recharge your energy. You could close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, go on a brisk walk, listen—and sing along with—your favorite song, or snuggle with a pet or child.
- Identify areas for growth. Mistakes are part of learning. Remind yourself that the way to get better at something is to practice doing it. If, for example, you lost your patience in the morning, try to notice opportunities to practice being more patient in the afternoon.
- Recommit to your goals. Even if it hasn’t gone as planned or your to-do list has grown instead of shrunk, remind yourself that the day isn’t over. You can do it.
In the evening:
- Share “smiles and frowns” with your family. What were the good parts of the day? Which parts were not as good? Together, make a plan to make tomorrow even brighter.
- Celebrate successes. Individually and together with your family, spend a few minutes celebrating something you did well. You could write it down and give yourself a gold star or do something more playful such as boogie down together or enjoy a healthy snack.
- Prepare for tomorrow. Before you head to bed, try to do one small thing for your “future self,” such as setting the coffee pot, tidying up your home, or prepping for work or school. Little acts of kindness, even for (and from) yourself can be just the pick-me-up you need to be the best parent you can be.
Notice, Wonder, Respond
Even our friends on Sesame Street need to practice their resilience in parenting. In the images below, we see how following the steps, Notice, Wonder, and Respond, helps Sesame caregivers to offer comfort to their children and work through challenges with confidence. Remember, you’ve got this!
You Are Loved
Children need to know they are loved. When they’re sure that they are safe, secure, and cared for, they’re more able to remain optimistic in the face of adversity. Offering reassurance throughout the day—especially on hard days—can help your child bounce back and strengthen bonds of trust.
You can assure your child he’s loved (and build his sense of confidence while you’re at it) when you:
- acknowledge his big feelings,
- remind him of all that he’s capable of,
- encourage him to keep working hard to accomplish his goals,
- and tell him you love him.
Read the short story below see how his parents help Elmo know he’s loved, even when he makes mistakes.