Parenting During a Pandemic: The University of Michigan MC3 for Moms program and Strong Roots programs, in partnership with Munson Family Practice are offering a three session, educational parent group. The virtual support group offers guidance and resources for pregnant mothers and mothers of children ages 0-6. Click here for more information.

PARENTS’ GUIDE TO COPING WITH THE

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) CRISIS


Returning to Childcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic:

What Parents Need to Know About Symptoms in Young Children

As we have learned, COVID-19 means many things have changed and will continue to change. Many parents are wondering how their childcare provider will keep children healthy and what will happen if their child or a child in the classroom becomes sick. There are new guidelines to keep everyone well and it is very important that parents are prepared to follow the guidelines. We encourage parents to stay up to date with CDC’s COVID-19 recommendations for childcare and review the Michigan guidelines. We can and will all get through this together.

Returning to Childcare During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Parents Need to Know about Symptoms in Young Children

These are hard times. During this coronavirus outbreak many parents are feeling stressed or worried about lots of things, from staying healthy, keeping the family well, paying bills, caring for children who are homebound, keeping kids on task with school assignments, and the list goes on. These kinds of worries can feel overwhelming and cause strong emotions, so if you are feeling that way know that you are not alone. We will get through all of this and can make it a little easier by taking good care of ourselves. 

Feeling strong during times of crisis

During this stressful, rapidly changing time, it may feel like many things are out of our control. In moments like this, it is helpful to take a step back, and consider the parts of our lives where we can make choices, and can take positive action. We can feel more peaceful (and less worried!) when we recognize how we play an active role in helping ourselves, our families, and our communities.   

Focus on the little things

Inch by inch things are a cinch, yard by yard, things are hard.  What are the “inch by inch” (little) things you can focus on, so you don’t get lost in the big things that might feel too overwhelming? Some ideas for “small actions” are listed below that might help you feel more calm inside.

Nurturing and “Refueling” ourselves

Caring for ourselves helps us to be ready and able to care for and nurture our children and those we love. Here are some suggestions that might help during this difficult time:

Accept your feelings.  It’s okay to be sad, mad, or scared.  This is a really hard time.

Practice gratitude.  Jot down a note, post on social media, or make a list of things for which you are grateful.  

Care for your body.  Try to eat healthy, exercise and get plenty of sleep.

Stay connected.  Find creative ways to stay socially connected (e.g., writing letters, online video chats).

Take time to relax Find things that help you feel calm.  These might include prayer, mindfulness, a warm shower, looking out the window, reading, listening to music.

Connect with beauty.  Every day, try to experience something beautiful.

Practice the 3 R’s.  The same advice we offer children is also good for ourselves!

  • Reassure: Remind yourself that your feelings are ok and understandable, and of the positive things you can do for yourself to get through this hard time.
  • Routines: Keep a regular daily schedule with time for your daily “must dos,” and exercise and rest.
  • Regulate: To manage stress, actively engage in strategies that will help you calm. For example, practice deep breathing; take a walk; draw your feelings; listen to a favorite song; reach out to a friend; close your eyes and imagine sunshine filling you with warmth.

Find your sense of purpose. Look for opportunities to “do good” – for example leaving groceries on doorsteps of neighbors who can’t get out, or calling or video-chatting with someone who cannot have visitors at present. Thank people in your community who are working to help others or who have helped you or put a note in a neighbor’s door.  Finding ways to “do something” helps move “from worry to wellness” by feeling more purposeful and helpful.  This can help strengthen you, and our sense of community action and connectedness.

Find your center in the midst of the storm

Find a way to connect with the center of your deepest self to re-awaken your sense of J.O.Y.:

J: Just taking a moment.

When things feel overwhelming, take a moment to be still.  Take the time to notice your feelings, pause and reflect. Even just three slow deep breaths can bring a moment of calm into your day.

O: Observe the lights.

Find the “light” in the midst of the “shadows.”  What are the small things for which you are grateful? The taste of your morning coffee, the warm shower you had, the phone call you received from a friend… Remember how you felt when you experienced someone’s care and kindness.

Y: You can be the light.

Remind yourself that you can be a source of light and kindness for others in the world.  At a time when so much is out of our control, you can focus on the moments when you have made a difference—for your child, family or community.  Reminding yourself of the ways you have helped others and spread kindness can help you feel more connected, and more peaceful.

Stay emotionally connected! 

Experts are recommending that we keep space between people – at least 6 feet. This is called social distancing and is an important way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. However, keeping physical space between people does not mean emotional distancing!  In fact, staying connected to friends and family will reduce your stress. Call a loved one or check in with your neighbor while maintaining at least 6-feet of space between you and them. It can be calming to simply think about the people you care about and draw on the strength of those connections. So stay back, but keep your heart close.  

Understanding the facts about COVID-19 and being prepared can make an outbreak less stressful.

Seek out news and information from trusted public health sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Be sure to follow prevention guidelines, including washing your hands often, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, and maintaining 6-feet of space between those you don’t live with.

Call your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms, including fever, coughing, and/or shortness of breath.

These are unprecedented times.  But these times also create tremendous opportunities for us to practice our values- to care for others, connect with those we love, to find community and purpose wherever we can.   This reminds us all of how connected we are to one another—and ultimately, we get through this together.  

Resources

ZERO TO THRIVE

Parents’ Guide to Coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

NCTSN

Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With COVID-19

UN NEWS

COVID-19: Mental Health in the age of Coronavirus

MHA

Mental Health and COVID-19 – Information and Resources

CDC

COVID-19: Manage Anxiety and Stress

WHO

Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak

SAMHSA

Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During and Infectious Disease Outbreak

MC3 for Moms

Support for Providers and Families during a Pandemic

CMI

Supporting Families During COVID-19

NASP

Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19

CMI

Supporting Kids During the Coronavirus Crisis

ADAA

How to Talk to Your Anxious Child or Teen About Coronavirus

Additional COVID-19 information and resources: