Parenting during a pandemic

Elisabeth Stitt ’88 offers three tips for raising children during uncertain times

Parenting is a challenge even during the best of times. But COVID-19 presents many more hurdles as parents help children cope with online learning, restricted activities and social isolation.

Elisabeth Stitt ’88, a longtime educator and owner of Joyful Parenting Coaching, offered advice during a Dec. 15, 2020, virtual gathering with Wheaton alumni and friends. The alumna has spent more than 50,000 hours working with children. 

Stitt noted that an unhappy or misbehaving child is a disconnected child, who may be sad and anxious about the global pandemic. She offered the following three tips to improve family life and resilience:

  • Be the leader of your family. Set a positive tone and encourage a mindset that the pandemic is something that the family will cope with, and overcome, together. “This unprecedented time in history gives you an opportunity to create something unique. What will your kids tell their grandchildren?”
  • Use structures and routines as your foundation. Use the extended time at home as an opportunity to create structures. For example, teach your children how to do chores, and schedule regular family meetings. “The better the times, the less need for structure; the harder things get, the more we need frameworks to fall back on.”
  • Let connection be your family glue. Limit screen time, spend time in nature, be silly and involve kids in projects. Also, build one-on-one time with kids to foster closeness. “Be creative, be relentless, slip them notes. Tell them, ‘we are going out of the house every day together.’”

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