Challenging times! Especially for parents with babies and toddlers who need constant care, sheltering in place without daycare or kindergarten can be very demanding. There is hardly an adult made happy by stacking building blocks hour after hour or shepherding around a toddler who’s just discovered the joys of walking. Working from home with little children to care for? There’s only so much you can do. This can add to the stress. Of course you love them, but…
Most importantly: Don’t be hard on yourself when you get to the end of your tether. The parental ideal of constant, unconditional love and inexhaustible patience with children exists only in theory. “A parenting job well done” is when you’ve managed to guide your child through the day safely and been able to keep to a basic plan of playing, meals and bedtimes. The younger your child is, the happier it will be spending time with you alone. Toddlers and small children don’t need much variety. What they do need is predictable routines and rituals that give them a sense of safety. And what parents need is scheduled breaks. If possible, arrange little time-outs with a partner or another adult who can take the baby for a walk or play with them for half an hour. When you feel your patience wearing thin, knowing that there’s a time-out coming up can help. In addition, the tools you find here can help you calm your inner stress system and regain balance. Stay healthy and take good care!
PD Dr. med. Carola Bindt
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Center for Psychosocial MedicineClinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics