A Letter to our Parents: Modeling Perseverance during COVID 19

Every parent is exhausted right now – working from home, helping with remote learning, serving three meals a day to their family – plus the normal worry that comes with a public health crisis like we are dealing with.  Thankfully Dr. Ashley Moss has some great ideas for keeping ourselves sane (and therefore, our kids happy) during these unusual times.

This is a stressful time for parents! We are worried about the health of our children, families, and communities, we miss socializing with friends and grocery shopping without masks, gloves and the fear of infecting ourselves or others. Combine this overall anxiety with the daily stressors of our new reality – working from home, managing difficult financial decisions, supporting distance learning for older children at different grade levels, and balancing child care for younger children. There are silver linings of course, a slower pace of life often reveals what is genuinely important like spending more time with our family, caring for our community and making sacrifices for the greater public good. I have heard many parents report new milestones like teaching a daughter to ride a bike or to a son to read. Families are cooking meals together, spending more time at the dinner table and staying up late watching movies or playing board games with their kids.

We don’t know how long this will last but we do know that as parents, we can control the way we respond to these challenges that can positively impact our children. Our children need our leadership to teach them how to cope when life is really hard. I recently read a blog from Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry that had excellent tips for parents dealing with COVID-19. You may read the entire blog here. I found the most important points to be the following: take care of yourself and model coping for your children; limit access to news; normalize and validate anxiety; be active; and shift perspective so that you focus on the positive aspects of this new, but temporary life. There are also great suggestions for non digital and digital games to play with others; coping skills for managing anxiety; ways to visit museums, take field trips, and experience Broadway shows virtually!

Let us know if you have questions. We are still seeing patients every day and it is our priority to do our part to help our families through this difficult time. Researchers and clinicians are engaged in a tremendous amount of COVID related research on testing, vaccines, and treatments. All of us here at Spring Valley Pediatrics are confident that we will get through this together.