With lockdown and homeschooling in place for thousands of Australian families, looking after parents and children’s health and wellbeing has never been more important.
Triple P International Country Director and co-author of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program®, Carol Markie-Dadds, said the continuing lockdown is causing extraordinary disruption and stress on Australian families, as they juggle family, work and school.
“Parenting in a pandemic brings an incredible amount of uncertainty and change,” Ms Markie-Dadds said. “It’s natural to feel worried, upset and angry, and our children are experiencing a range of emotions too.”
“Learning to cope with uncertainty is hard so we’re calling on parents to make their children and wellbeing a top priority,” she said.
“To help parents stay positive, Triple P International has come up with a new take on the ‘3 Rs’ to help parents through a lockdown and beyond:
- Relationships – we feel happier and more confident when we are supported in our relationships, this goes for our children too. Enjoy some quality time with your children and other family members every day; find ways for each of you to connect with important people outside of your home, via video-conferencing, phones and social media. Children need to feel connected to their friends and will often rely on social media for this.
- Routine – add some structure and predictability to your day. A super-strict timetable isn’t realistic, but try to have regular eating, exercise and sleeping times as well as agreed blocks of time for work and connecting with others. Involve your children in working out their school routine as they know what works for them and will be more likely to follow it.
- Resilience – This is all about building our capacity for accepting uncertainty and bouncing back from set-backs. Encourage a sense of optimism and a try-again attitude when things don’t go well. There will always be things outside of our control and learning to accept this helps us develop coping skills and emotional resilience.
“Helping children build their resilience now will help them navigate the inevitable ups and downs of life,” she said.
“Triple P encourages parents to take particular care of their relationship with their children. Let them know you are always there for them, show that you are listening, and let them know it’s ok to feel the way they do.
“Parents don’t have all the answers and that’s ok. Be honest, research answers you don’t know, and acknowledge that sometimes things will just be uncertain and we need to find ways to accept and cope with that.
“But most importantly, have fun together – every day. Play games, sing, dance, or cook together; find what works for your family and make lots of great memories.” Ms Markie-Dadds said.
Parents and carers of children aged 0-16 can access Triple P’s online courses, including the guide to parenting during COVID-19 at www.triplep-parenting.net.