The challenges of being a parent on the front line
With work situations and childcare arrangements up in the air, parents are facing challenges due to the restrictions around Covid-19. Parents working on the front line, like our staff here at Bloomfield, have additional concerns surrounding their families’ wellbeing. Dr Finian Fallon and Dr Malie Coyne have created this video addressing the unique needs of frontline parents.
Frontline parents may be faced with situations at work that can be difficult to put aside when they come straight home to the needs of their children. Being able to create some distance between your work and home situations is key. Dr Malie Coyne works as a clinical psychologist; she suggests creating a routine for yourself to visualise coming back into parent mode. This could be as simple as taking a moment for yourself in the car before you walk in the door, or stopping for a short walk alone on your way home. To manage the stress of your job, our current situation, and the demands of parenting, being compassionate to yourself is key.
Set boundaries with your children in relation to getting in the door and having some breathing space. Many frontline parents will need to shower and take off their work clothes before they can relax and interact safely with their families. Establish this as a routine, and let your children know that once you have those things done they will have your full attention and be able to spend time with you.
Get back to basics
During this stressful time, when their lives are experiencing severe upheaval, some children may seem to be regressing and having nightmares or even wetting the bed. Children may express the stress they are experiencing in these bodily behaviours rather than with words, and need attention and reassurance that things will be ok. Even though their usual routines have changed, it’s important to establish new ones, including regular bedtimes to ensure enough sleep. Monitor social media use, as kids can be exposed to things that may worry or stress them further, and talk to them about their concerns.
Tap into your support networks
Frontline workers are keeping Ireland safe, and for many, this will take a toll on their mental and physical health. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support – from management and colleagues, as well as from family and friends. Something as simple as a call to a loved one to let off some steam – or talk about something other than work! – can be hugely beneficial.
Enjoy your family
Finally, make time to take joy in your family. The time you spend with your kids can be a welcome distraction from all that is going on. It can be easy to feel the stress of parenting demands overwhelming you, but the time you spend with them, away from work demands and away from bad news and stressful facts and figures, can be hugely helpful in managing your own wellbeing, too.