Parenting during Lockdown- Do we have to strive for perfection?

There really is no other topic of conversation at the moment apart from the corona virus and lockdown. Many of us will still be feeling a sense of shock and disbelief, whilst others have moved in to more of a “getting on with it” mentality. We are all trying to remain positive, and for most people there is a feeling of wanting to try to keep everything as normal as possible. One way of coping is to think of it as an opportunity for improving family life- spending quality time together, creating wonderful projects and enhancing knowledge. However, this approach may come at a cost to the mental wellbeing of parents who are coping with anxiety, working from home, feeling suffocated with isolation and worried about the future.   

Do we really need to make this a time when we parent perfectly; offering creative home education, producing exciting craft projects and making this a magical time for our children? If we scroll through social media, we might be left feeling inadequate when looking at the wonderful images of other people’s time spent in lockdown! And yet we find ourselves in a time where life is far from normal. Even very young children are aware of this and understandably may be feeling frightened, sad and a bit lost. Just like their parents! This is surely an opportunity to keep it simple. A time when we can model a response to uncertainty which is authentic and “good enough”.

Let’s recognise our feelings and our children’s, acknowledge that it’s difficult and that we need to work together to discover our own family’s best way of coping. Let’s try to keep some basic routines like getting up at the same time, eating our usual meals, getting outside if we can and keeping bedtime routines. Let’s expect that our children may display different behaviours, be irritating or defiant and remain compassionate towards them and ourselves. This is indeed a golden opportunity to be a bit quieter and more reflective and to appreciate our loved ones, but we don’t need to pile unrealistic expectations on to an already challenging situation. You never know, allowing our children to find their own way of coping, to be a bit bored and to learn about themselves may have the unexpected consequence of increasing their self- confidence and resilience. Here’s to new discoveries, ready to enhance our lives when we get to the other side…