First things first. You are doing great. No one is meant to live in isolation without social interaction and support. COVID-19 is disrupting lives all over the world. If you are the parent of a toddler who is suddenly faced with daycare closures, working remote and social distancing—it is no wonder you may be stressed out.
Stress is normal. It’s a biological response to threats and challenges. It gets you primed to act and to protect yourself and loved ones.
But, too much stress puts you in fight, flight or freeze mode which may not be helpful when you are supporting your young children.
As this global situation continues to unfold, here are some tools you and your family can use to respond to stress calmly.
According to The Child Mind Institute, if you are calm and confident your child will feel more secure and safe. There are several ways you can manage your own stress including taking time to appreciate what you have (it can reduce the stress hormone cortisol by 23%); getting enough rest (when you sleep, your brain recharges so you are more alert and clear-headed); and taking time for daily self-care.
Model Healthy Habits
Don’t worry! No one is expecting perfection. In fact, no one has parented through a global pandemic before. As you look for ways to practice your own self-care, include the whole family. Make time for daily exercise and let your children know why you do it (ie: to stay healthy, to be fit, to reduce stress). Take a daily, family walk around your community and teach your children about their environment. Include your family in making a gratitude list (it will help you appreciate what you have). Cook a few simple, healthy recipes together each week. For more detailed ideas, visit our ‘For The Family Section’!
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Stress and anxiety can increase your heart rate and make your breath shallow. This goes for your kids too. Taking deep breaths lets the brain know “it’s okay” to calm down and can immediately shift your mood.
Practice deep breathing with your children by pretending your fingers are birthday candles and ask them to blow them out slowly. Or, lay on your back with a favorite toy on your stomach and have your toddler watch it move up and down as you SLOWLY inhale and exhale. For more ideas, visit
Remember What’s Important
It’s important to remember you’re not alone. Everything you do right now doesn’t have to be perfect. With disrupted routines, the dining room table turning into the classroom and your office, it’s okay to take a moment to reset, refocus and re-center.
Your kids will remember very little about this time and COVID-19. However, they will remember that you are an amazing parent who makes time to connect, cuddle and keep them safe.
We are in the middle of a storm right now and it won’t look like this forever. Take each day as it is and trust that better days are coming. We’re all in this together – You got this!