Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
4 minute read
12 Jul 2021
9:12 am

Parents: Level 4 has been extended. Here’s how to stay sane

Renate Engelbrecht

Lockdown level 4's extension poses a challenge to young children’s parents who are increasingly looking for ways to stay sane.

Level 4 lockdown and parenting

The idea of making binoculars from toilet paper rolls, playing hide and seek and having to stay at home to steer away from the possibility of catching the Coronavirus, might have seemed adventurous right at the beginning of lockdown, but more than a year later, parents – especially those with young children – are worn out.

It’s true. Covid-19 has changed parenting and it has certainly redefined the landscape of motherhood. Parents have had to adapt to home offices, being interrupted during meetings and the challenge of not allowing home life to influence work life even though you’re working from home.

Although we’ve all had to learn to be more psychologically resilient these past few months, news of an extended Level 4 lockdown may come as the last blow for many parents even though we’re all well aware that things are far from over. Some parents will also agree that there has been many ‘last blows’ the past year and somehow, they just marched on. Because they have to. That’s what parents do, right? And, that is pretty much what they will do if lockdown Level 4 gets extended. Still, parents might need a bit of inspiration and a little nudge to get through the next couple of days.

Touch base

If you are lucky enough to have a partner who can help you with the kids, it’s important to remember to touch base with one another too. Work and home responsibilities, coupled with young children can often leave you diving for bed at 9PM without even asking about your partner’s day.

Make a cup of tea, grab a blanket and have a chat about what was good today. Have a laugh about your daughter’s latest saying or appreciate your son’s first or fifth word. Don’t forget that even though we are hugely affected by this pandemic, it is still a major privilege to see your children grow up right in front of you.

Touch base as parents during lockdown level 4
Remember to touch base as parents. Image: iStock

Take time during lockdown

Everyone needs a bit of me time. Some more than others. Whether it is to wash your hair for the first time this week, to jog around the block without having to rescue a toddler freeing downhill on her balance bike, or to read a few pages of the book that has been lying on your bedside table for two years.

Me time brings perspective and often allows you to regroup and find the bigger picture again, which ultimately makes you feel less anxious about current happenings, and that will also help you to be a more patient and kinder parent.

Sleep when you can

As much as you need time for yourself, you also need as much additional sleep as possible. Anxiety and stress about the virus, about your family’s mental health, about the vaccination debate, about your job (and the list goes on) is tiring.

Couple that with young children who wake up at least three times at night and perhaps even a little insomnia due to your anxiety, and you’ll know that you need to make time for a midday nap. If you are fortunate enough to have a partner, take turns to take a nap. Otherwise, time the kids’ nap times cleverly that you also get to nap while they do.

Keep a journal during lockdown level 4

By keeping a journal, you not only get to jot down your own feelings about the whole Coronavirus craziness, you also record routines and feelings about being part of the pandemic for the history books.

The benefits of keeping a journal include keeping your thoughts organised (which is something we need a little more of in these times), it helps you to reflect on what happened today, it relieves stress, it boosts your memory and it even inspires creativity.

Keep a journal during lockdown level 4
Keep a journal during lockdown level 4. Image: iStock

Plan ahead

It might seem silly to plan ahead when you don’t even know when we will be getting out of yet another list of lockdown adjustments. Still, planning ahead (and including your family in the planning) is a way to stay positive about the future, but also a way of getting to know your family better.

Dream up a family holiday and start doing some research on it. Let the kids draw pictures of what they want to do at the destination and teach them about saving for a holiday by rewarding them with pocket money for house chores like feeding the dogs and helping to clean up the kitchen.

READ: Why local travel is good for your mental health