Tips To Keep Your Sanity: Portrait of American Parenting in a Pandemic

Heidi Otway, APR, CPRC, President + Partner

The Otways are keeping our sanity, staying active, and practicing social distancing by playing badminton in our backyard, going for walks, cooking together, and riding our bikes. 

With Florida K-12 schools and college campuses closed for the remainder of this academic year, there’s a new normal emerging for families in post-coronavirus America. What does this mean for parents? The IPREX global communications network released the Parent Normal survey, fielded between April 1 and 8. The survey asked 1,519 U.S. parents and caregivers about their behaviors, their children’s behavior, and their perception of other parents’ behaviors. The findings produced what is perhaps the first statistical portrait of American parenting in the pandemic.

According to the survey, parents are changing their behavior when it comes to screen time versus together time. While there are some parents who report spending more time on computers and smartphones, 41-percent of parents are exercising more with their families, 37-percent are spending more time outdoors, and two-thirds say they are spending more quality time with their children and less time with their friends.

SalterMitchell PR is a member of the IPREX global communications network. While working from home, we’re using the survey findings to bring other Florida parents our top five tips to keep your sanity and enjoy the increased family time: 

1. Go outside and play

With more parents working from home and homeschooling, it is important to get some fresh air and exercise while still practicing social distancing. Challenge your family to make an outdoor plan and find a new area close to home to walk, run, hike, or bike around. Doing this encourages everyone to get out of the house and experience outdoor adventures while practicing social distancing. 

2. Reading is Fundamental  

Organize your books and create a family library. Each night, ask one member of the family to visit the “library” and select a book to read aloud. This will not only make for great conversation and learning, but will increase the bonds and memories you share with one another. 

3. Dance Party

Dancing around the house might just seem like carefree fun, but it’s a great way for parents and kids to stay active. After working and homeschooling all day, it is important for everyone to take a brain break. Dancing alleviates stress and gets your blood pumping.

4. Chopped Family Edition 

Take your home cooking to the next level with some friendly competition. Turn your kitchen into a Food Network face off and see who can make the best dish using ingredients you have on hand. Not only will you learn some new techniques, but you’ll be laughing your way through a delicious family meal. 

5. Table Talk

With more time at home comes more dialog. Challenge yourself and your family to put down the devices and put out more meaningful conversations. This is a time to grow closer together as a family and to learn from each other. To get the conversations started, make some table topic cards.

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