In this week’s news, we look at CNA’s article <>, and discuss what parenting looks like during Circuit Breaker.
In the Article
The article starts with an interview with Jamie Koh, a mother. She misses hanging out with her toddler at the playground, which she can’t do now due to circuit breaker measures. Instead, her toddler has been restless due to the lack of activities throughout the day. That has led to her toddler not sleeping well at night, which is tough on the mom. Thankfully, the frustrated mother found Parents Circle, a WhatsApp group where parents share tips on how to fill the day with activities.
While we look at the economic impacts of COVID19, we have been neglecting how overwhelming these measures are for parents. This is especially true for first-timers, who have to come up with activities to keep their kids engaged continually. Children need plenty of stimulation, and it becomes very tiring to accompany them every waking hour. As children are not allowed to be dropped off at the grandparents’ house anymore, parents have also lost their alone time.
(Photo: Kenny Lim, taken from article)
Another mother, Amelia, shares how working from home has been stressful for her. As her son sees her at home, he assumes that she is available, and wants to get her attention constantly. According to her, “it’s hard to explain to a little kid how mommy’s still here but can’t give [him] the attention that [he] wants. Such stress and anxiety are common for parents, who might feel lost in this uncertain period. This is on top of the economic pressure that is impacting most individuals.
The article rounds up by re-emphasizing the need for parental support groups and names a few popular groups that are helping parents realize they are not alone in this journey. There is value in being part of a positive group, as it encourages the parents and provides them with much-needed support.
What It Means
As we deal with how COVID-19 has impacted us, it is easy to forget the dual roles that parents play. In addition to worrying about their jobs and health like every one of us, they have the added stress being parents. The article helps paint a picture of a day in this parent’s life.
With the closing of schools and childcare, as well as facilities like libraries and playgrounds, things are changing for children as well. Their rhythm of life is disrupted, and they get confused with new expectations of them. For example, your time at home used to be exclusively playtime for them. However, now they have to differentiate between when you are in work mode, and when you are ready to play. For preschoolers, they have to struggle with learning in an environment that might not be optimal. And when these children feel frustrated with uncertainties, they invariably act up. Parents then have to deal with the fall-out.
When I read the accounts of all these parents, one common theme stands out. Parents seem to be lost in this period of change. And by joining all these support groups, they are looking for something more than just support and encouragement. Yes, knowing you are not alone could be therapeutic, but that still does not solve the problem fundamentally. It is only a brief reprieve until the next time your child acts up again. Beyond that, I believe that these parents are looking for ideas on how to engage their children. What they crave is a plan for the day, so that they will not be struggling hour to hour.
Having a plan helps immensely. We do it for our work-life but fail to plan enough in our personal lives. I believe this Circuit Breaker period would have made many parents realize the need to prepare for their children daily, and this could be a new habit moving forward past COVID-19.
Being parents, Felix & Stacy knows how hard it is to start planning. To make it easier, they post daily activities for parents like themselves to connect with their children. Join their Telegram group here.