4 Ways to Navigate Parenting in a Pandemic: Toddler Edition

Ah, yes…..working remotely.

I have enjoyed it so far. Well, that is until my 2 year old son’s daycare closed. My husband and I both work remotely at this point and our days are a blur of balancing work with toddler antics. This morning, my son thought it would be a great idea to go into our bathroom and somehow open a purse size of my perfume. He proceeded to dump it on the bathroom rug. Our bathroom smells like J’adore by Christian Dior, so I suppose I can’t complain much. 🤷‍♀️

The stress of answering emails and managing tight deadlines while also dealing with toddler tantrums are unbelievably exhausting. My mom has been able to help out some days. It helps to lessen the crazy feeling of helplessness.

Even so, our family routine was turned on its head overnight – which is not good, especially for young children. I am convinced that my son’s increased tantrums and behavioral issues are due to the situation this pandemic has created. He’s too young to understand what’s happening. All he knows is he isn’t going to daycare and can’t see his friends or teachers. Shoot, I feel like throwing things, too!

I wish I could offer more advice than I have for this post, but let’s be honest – shit got real, and really fast.

So, for what it’s worth, here are a few ways I’ve managed to keep at least some sense of normalcy in our house. I hope they help if you feel as crazy and exhausted as I do!

Set a new routine and stick to it as much as possible.

We requested our son’s daily daycare schedule so we could stick to his routine as much as possible at home. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does help to continue the daily activities kids typically do while at daycare.

Get a toddler activity book for inspiration.

I found this toddler activity book on Amazon and it has plenty of great activities that are low prep and low cost. Plus, they encourage play and creativity. Those empty cardboard toilet paper rolls suddenly have multiple uses!

Take care of yourself.

I have said this in previous blog posts and it’s important to repeat. Remember the airplane analogy — if the airplane is going down, put the oxygen mask on yourself first. You cannot help anyone else if you cannot breathe.

Get as much sleep as you can and forgive yourself for things that don’t go exactly right. This entire situation has caused unprecedented challenges. Be nice to yourself. One thing I started doing is taking a hot shower after my son goes to bed and taking a few moments to just enjoy the quietness of the house. I often use that time to read Practicing the Power of Now. It’s a wonderful book that reminds the reader to focus on the Now. It has helped me to be mindful of how I approach challenges.

Additionally, when I go to sleep, I often put a cool, damp washcloth over my forehead and eyes. It feels like a spa treatment after a long day.

Create a mind shift.

It’s tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but it can put a block on your productivity – whether you work from home or you are a stay at home mom. Changing my clothes in the morning and feeling put together has been a helpful signal to my brain that it’s time to start the day. I do the same with our son.

Bringing it all together

This global crisis has caused upheaval of family routines and created unprecedented challenges for families. Take it one day at a time, do not worry about tomorrow. Before you know it, this crisis will be behind us and parents will their own homemade tools for managing what once seemed impossible. You are strong and you can do this!

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