Staying home and staying sane.

Under the current circumstances, kids are at home and so is the office! Parenting now includes teaching, encouraging exercise, and providing productive entertainment long enough for you to get some work done. Talk about a difficult new normal!

The good news is that this is only temporary. However, there’s no use trying to pretend that everything in the present is the same as it was a few months ago. We have some adjusting to do!

The Cooley Bentz Dental team put our thinking caps on to come up with 10 things parents should remember while navigating this situation. Read on to find out what they are!

1. You don’t have to do it all.

Parents in the US are wearing a lot of hats right now. It may feel like it’s your job to suddenly relearn algebra, colonial history, and biology overnight. Meanwhile, your boss still wants you to lead that project from home and somebody has to take care of breakfast, dinner, and now lunch, too!

Take a deep breath. It’s time to adjust your expectations and let those around you know to do the same.

Don’t forget that teachers go through years of training. Consider asking your boss to either lighten your load or extend your deadlines. No matter what, you don’t have to do it all.

2. When your kids are cranky, it’s not personal.

Everyone is living in very close quarters right now. Your kids miss seeing their friends, going to extracurriculars, and even going to school five days a week! They’re bound to get cranky and, unfortunately, they may just take it out on Mom and Dad. Just remember that it isn’t your fault and deep down, they know that, too.

3. Navigate screen time.

Normally, you limit your two- to five-year-olds to one hour of screen time per day, your six- to nine-year-olds to an hour and a half, and so forth. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always adhere to these rules during this unusual time.

That being said, don’t forget to factor in how much time your kids have to stare at a screen for school. While they’re using this screen time productively, it’s still hard on their eyes and can be disruptive to their sleep schedules! Try substituting leisurely screen time with non-digital, kid-friendly activities.

4. This is not a normal work day.

You get up at 7 and you’re working by 9. Lunch is at 1 and you’re home by 5:30. This has been the routine for years, now.

Don’t be afraid to rearrange your workday, especially when you have to keep your kids on track with their online homeschooling. For your own sake, start accepting the disruptions from your kids and your partner. Be transparent with your boss and coworkers and don’t be afraid to say, “This will just take another day.”

5. Prioritize—and don’t put yourself at the end of the list.

As we said earlier, you can’t do it all. Prioritize what you need and want to get done each day and don’t be afraid to push some things to the end of the list. However, make sure that you aren’t pushed to the end of the list.

Make time for self-care and relaxation each day, even if it’s only 20 minutes here and there. Read a book that brings you joy or follow along with a yoga tutorial online. Put in your headphones and dance to your favorite songs from childhood or take a solo walk around the block.

Make a mental self-care checklist and don’t neglect it. Ask questions like, “Did I smile and laugh today?” and, “Did I take some time for myself and my own comfort?”

6. Grace and forgiveness are key.

As you create a new normal, you’re going to need to forgive yourself and your family—a lot. You’re all stumbling through this together. Try to find ways to laugh at the mistakes made along the way!

7. You’re not alone in this.

Just like no one expects you to do it all, no one expects you to do this alone! Social distancing may feel isolating and cause a bout of fear and anxiety, but remember that there’s a whole online community at your disposal.

Need help answering questions about this ever-evolving situation or explaining what’s happening to your kids? This recent NPR article translates the guidelines from Dr. Fauci and the CDC to answer just about every question we’ve had so far.

Need help teaching? The Parent Toolkit offers guidance for all academic and emotional phases your kids may go through. Plus, there are tons of resources that will take some of the pressure off you to come up with a lesson plan every day.

8. You can boost your immune system.

Social distancing and vigorous hand washing are crucial to our health right now. But, did you know you can boost your immune system, too?

First, fill your plate with fruits, veggies, and clean grains. That way, you’re reducing inflammation and packing your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Second, keep a close eye on your dental health. A buildup of plaque will also lead to inflammation that starts in your mouth but can spread to your respiratory system and your organs. Floss and brush thoroughly twice a day for at least two minutes at a time.

Third, take a look at number 5 on this list again. Lowering your stress is actually a very effective way to boost your immune system.

9. It’s time to be flexible in your parenting.

Just like you have to practice forgiveness right now, you need to be flexible in your day’s planning. The more flexible you are, the less you’ll have to forgive everyone in your household!

Many of us are finding ourselves with detailed to-do lists designed to keep us on track. However, with all of the distractions and possibilities for unexpected surprises, we need to accept that the to-do list is a guide, not a contract. When you prioritize, make your to-do list a reflection of those priorities so that if a few tasks fall to the wayside, you know you can live without them.

10. This is not forever.

Above all, this is only temporary. Yes, it will last long enough that a new normal is necessary; however, don’t forget that in due time, you’ll be back at work on the weekdays, out to eat on a Friday night, and catching a movie with your family on the weekends.

What about dentist appointments?

Parenting “then” included getting everybody to the dentist at least twice a year. What about parenting “now”?

Just like you, we’ve had to make some adjustments. While regular appointments are postponed for the time being, we’re still available for dental emergencies. If you have a dental emergency, look for our number on our contact page and give us a call.