The Difficulties of Pandemic Parenting

The Difficulties of Pandemic Parenting

By Lily Erb, Content Writer

Raising children was already difficult, but COVID-19 has presented numerous new challenges for modern parents. With the nationwide lockdown, kids of all ages took on remote learning. College and high school students are fairly self-sufficient, but elementary age students need parental assistance while online learning. Parents are finding that they have to spend a lot of time with their children to help them learn from home, leaving them with less time for working. Parents are also attempting to answer difficult, unanswerable questions about the new way the world works. 

How do you explain a global pandemic to your kindergartener, your fourth grader, your teenager? Children look to adults for cues on how to react to situations, but nobody, not even the adults, truly know what the appropriate reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic is. UC Health encourages parents to be supportive and honest when addressing difficult topics with children. It’s important to be open to communication with your children. It’s also important to give them an honest answer, even if that answer is “I don’t know.” While it’s important to keep your children aware of the danger of the pandemic, UC Health advises to limit the amount of television or news that they intake, as the images might be disturbing to children. If children seem overwhelmed or highly distressed by fears of coronavirus, it may be helpful to seek professional guidance.

With schools and summer camps mostly closed, children have been spending more time at home. Teenagers lament about the lack of things to do and places to go: movie theatres are closed, restaurants are closed, and other activities, such as going to the beach, are too crowded to realistically social distance. Smaller children can’t be dropped off at daycare. With the whole family stuck at home, pressure is on for the parents. Parents don’t get the “breaks” from their kids that schools and camps usually afford. It’s humorous when we see the news anchor’s child burst into the home office while he’s reporting the daily traffic, but it’s a real display of how children can affect home workers. Working, especially if you’re working from a home office, is made much more difficult when you’re also taking care of your family. 

According to Rolling Stone, the COVID-19 economy has been harshest on mothers. Dual income households with small children can no longer sustain themselves; somebody has to devote time to taking care of the baby. A survey done by the New York Times reports that it is women, not men, who see the most exacerbated consequences of the pandemic in every sphere of life, including economically and socially. Historically, women have embodied the roll of housewife and mother, with women in the workplace a relatively new concept. Parents are expected to achieve a perfect balance of childcare and productivity in the workplace without any help from outside support systems such as babysitters or daycares. Many parents, especially mothers, are finding the workload too much, and are being forced to become part-time or no-time. According to Rolling Stone, the effects of the pandemic on women in the workforce will likely reach far into the future, harming women economically for years to come.

Parents have so many responsibilities when it comes to running a household. Cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, running errands, and food shopping are all big parts of family life, and that’s not even counting all the curve balls COVID-19 is throwing. While Smart Shop won’t walk your dog or mow your lawn, we can save your valuable time in the supermarket. Smart Shop is here to lend a helping hand to parents during this pandemic.

Cover photo courtesy of Sanyasm/E + /Getty Images

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