I became a parent to my son 1 month before the pandemic began (February 12, 2021), it was a joyous moment. Fast forward to March 2021, and we were hit with lockdown orders. On one hand I understood the need for these measures from a public health perspective; on the other hand, this did evoke some fear as socialization is critical to child development. In hindsight I thought that the covid-19 pandemic would only last a couple months. This thought did bring some hope. However, as time passed it became apparent that covid-19 was here to stay for the long run.
2021 proved to be complicated from a parenting perspective, as seeing family was often not possible or very limited. This meant more quality one on one time with my son, which I am very grateful for. However, that does not change the fact that I had/have some anxieties around how this pandemic will impact my son. The 0-24-month period is vital when it comes to child development, so this also contributed some of my worries. With that being said, I had to learn and be creative when it came to socializing my child. I also had to be creative in finding ways to keep him busy and entertained. I want to share some of the things that I found helpful, for me as new parent during the pandemic.
Using videocall technology does not substitute human contact; however, it is still very helpful in terms of socializing and dealing with feelings of isolation. Technology such as: facetime, zoom, Facebook messenger (video call) have been a blessing during these times. My son has been able to see his family’s faces instead of just hearing their voices.
When public health measures allow it please refer to https://covid-19.ontario.ca/zones-and-restrictions for up to date information; seeing family in small batches teaches us the importance of quality versus quantity.Although we cannot have huge family gatherings, seeing your loved ones individually still provides just as much quality time for you as parent and your children.
When you are starting to feel cramped up inside or what some may refer to as “cabin fever”; there is nothing stopping us from going outside with our children. Whether that is just for a walk or to play in the snow or grass. I have found allotting time during the week for outdoor activities helps break the monotony of being inside. Also, by taking Stroller walks with my son I have found it helpful for his visual learning.
Another important tool during this pandemic has been YouTube (in moderation). YouTube allows me to play educational videos for my son or lullabies for him which I have found to be comforting for him. Also, I am able to play music and dance with my son. I have learned to never underestimate the importance of spontaneity when dealing with the staleness of routine; music and dance definitely help with this.
Parenting is somewhat of a paradox, it is very rewarding but can also be quite difficult. There is much uncertainty inherent with parenting. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and parenting becomes even more unpredictable. Let’s talk parenting during these unprecedented times.
Lastly, whether you are a mother or a father if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed as cliché as it may sound, talking about it with someone you are comfortable with is important. I have found that whether I am talking with my mother, a friend, my wife or another parent that this has been helpful in terms of managing my stress. There is no shame in feeling worried or stressed as a parent during these times, as there is no “how to parent during a global pandemic” book or guide.