Parenting from home taking it’s toll on mental health

By | April 20, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitobans continue to isolate themselves and stay inside while COVID-19 distancing measures are in effect, but for some parents working from home and home schooling, it’s challenging.

For Kara Hick, a single mother with a four-year-old daughter, parenting has changed since the measures were put in place.

“It’s definitely challenging to entertain her,” said Hick about her daughter. “I mean, you’re home all the time alone.”

Hick said she was laid off from her job last month, and her daughter’s daycare closed.

She said to keep her daughter occupied she’s been painting and teaching her the alphabet, but doing everything alone isn’t easy.

“You’re going from cooking a couple meals a day to three plus snack times,” said Hick. “It’s hard to balance everything.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) said isolation and physical distancing can have a big impact on our mental health.

Ela Partyka, the program manager with CMHA said there’s an added challenge for single parents.

“Child parent relationships have certain boundaries,” said Partyka. “You wouldn’t necessarily share things with your child that you may have the need to share with another person.”

Partyka said people are social beings – biologically they need to connect with other people.

She said it’s important for parents to reach out for help when they need mental health support.

One support available to parents in Winnipeg is Michael Larson – a certified parent coach.

He said parents have been messaging him on social media for advice on how to cope with the challenges of being isolated.

He decided to make free videos and post them on social media.

“I try to post a video a day,” said Larson. “I think I’ve posted 16 so far, and they cover things from how to connect with our children, home schooling, how to communicate.”

Larson recommends parent’s lower their expectations and put less pressure on themselves.

He said they should focus on connecting with their children and helping them get through this stressful time.

Hick said she and her daughter are coping well – they’re getting used to their new routine.

“I think the first 14 days are the worst,” said Hick. “The shock, the anxiety, the everything. Once you get past those 14 days, it’s so much better.” 

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