Advice for parents during Covid-19

Advice for Parents During Covid-19


There are some great memes going around about the ‘joys’ of parenting during self-isolation and social distancing. However, being on top of one another while schools are out can be a challenge.

Stay Calm

There is an old aphorism in medicine. “As calm as you are is as calm as they will be.” Be a model. Try not to lecture (or yell, as I have done several times already). Instead, praising your kids for hygienic or general good behaviours will be more effective.

Make fun routines and games

One of the key tactics we use to win over kids in the consulting room is playing the fool (or as we would say at home “Acting the eejit/ maggot”). When we arrive in from outside with the kids instead of telling them to wash their hands we would ask “OK, what do we need to do now?” Before the kids can answer I will answer my own question with “Pick our noses!?” or “ “Scratch our bums!?” The kids will always then respond “NOOO, wash our hands!!!” This gives children a sense of fun and confidence in themselves.

Stick to school routine

During the term time, help reduce your child’s uncertainty by sticking to the school routine and rhythms. Make sure there is time for playtime. Get them outdoors. Set them the task of designing the day and having input in the day’s timetable.

Be flexible

Many of you will be working from home. Kids often are so excited to see their parents they really want to spend time with you even though you might working. So try and create a little flexibility in your schedule for one on one time with your kids.

Stop and check-in with yourself

I am a much better parent, and doctor, when I’m fed, not thirsty, have managed to go to the bathroom, have slept well and have exercised. If you are getting ratty with your children check in with yourself to make sure you have done all of these things. Equally, if your “little darling” is being a “little shit” have a think – could they be hungry, thirsty, bored or tired?

Coping with boredom

Without the usual stimulus of school and spending time with friends, boredom can quickly set in. A few good exercises to get them to do include:

  • Have your kids draw a coat of arms and write a family mission statement or set of family values. This is a great way to explore all the things that you treasure as a family and what is important to all of you.
  • Set them the task of redesigning the school coat of arms to fit with homeschooling.
  • Ask the kids to write letters or stories or art to send to relatives or friends who will be missing them.
  • Set creative writing exercises. Topics might include what it’s like to be at home most of the time, what their ideal school might look like, things that they love doing and why.

Online party

Our kids were due to have a school movie club this week. Of course, children will miss their friends hugely. Think about setting up and online party or movie club using Zoom. Your kids and their friends can then watch a movie or a show while eating popcorn at the same time and share the experience.


This is not forever. Life may be different when this is all over but we will be unlikely to have so much time with our kids again. Many of our children will not remember the rigid hygiene regimes when they are older but they will recall the feelings and emotions they had. Treasure this extra time you have with them. Hopefully, it is a once in a lifetime.

Dr Hugh Coyne
Private GP
Parsons Green