Originally published in Fostering Families Today.
Caring for children in need is stressful even in the best of situations, but the unprecedented events surrounding the COVID-19 global crisis are adding a new level of anxiety for parents and caregivers. And just when we were starting to get the homeschooling routine down, school ended and we began a new era of a socially distanced summer.
When the normal support groups and planned activities outside of the home are no longer an option, it can become overwhelming. Whether you’re balancing working from home while managing 24/7 caregiving, dealing with anxiety from finances, or feeling isolated from social distancing guidelines, experiencing stress is normal. You are not alone or a bad caregiver.
Children learn from the behaviors of the adults around them, and the experience of those moments impact them long into their future. Taking care of yourself IS taking care of the kids in your family, but slowing down, managing anxiety, and finding balance while parenting sometimes feels impossible. This added level of stress is new to all of us and there is no perfect plan or “right way” that works for everyone, but to try to help you manage the anxiety of this new normal, we’ve put together five practices that can be very helpful. So, relax for a moment, take a read, and consider if putting any of these practices into action might help.
Give yourself a break. Parenting is a tough job and this unexpected detour from our normal routines doesn’t come with a detailed how-to guide. You are doing your best, so try not to be too hard on yourself! You’re learning as you go, and things may not always be just the way you’d expect or what it might look like for someone else. Know that this is OK.