The pandemic has dominated our social consciousness for the past 18 months, creeping into every aspect of normal life. The home is no exception. It has forced parents to play many roles—caretaker, teacher, events planner.

It’s also forced parents to weigh the risks of locking down and reentering our changing world. Although children are known for their resilience, they will undoubtedly come out of the pandemic different from how they entered it.

While the pandemic has been challenging all aspects of life, it has also led to some positive changes that should be highlighted. For example, it has created more work-from-home opportunities, giving parents more flexibility than ever before.

The pandemic has also freed us from many social commitments, allowing us to slow down and look for creative ways to connect. Instead of schedules jampacked with sports and playdates, families have more time for simple things, like a walk together or a movie night.

Although these are welcome changes, many parents believe they are fleeting. This creates new hurdles for parents and children, especially as the pandemic evolves.

Even during the best of circumstances, parenting has its challenges. For those who have lost a family member, job or even both, the challenges can become overwhelming.

The pandemic has also amplified ongoing socio-economic gaps, including access to reliable healthcare. For example, those who needed more assistance pre-pandemic tend to be experiencing greater hardships today.

As we look to the future, we must be mindful that many people have endured tragic losses. In her article, 8 Tips for Post-Pandemic Parenting, Erin B. Bernau, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has outlined a plan to help us move forward with empathy during these challenging times:

1. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and others
2. Cultivate love and patience in your children
3. Go slow and make a plan
4. Identify discomfort versus distress
5. When fears come up, think about them and feel them
6. Acknowledge and respect differences in opinion between partners
7. Help your kids understand what the narrative of 2020 was
8. What do we want to keep?

Another resource to help you navigate today’s challenges is your employee assistance program. To learn more about this helpful benefit, contact your manager or human resources department. To learn more about the FEI EAP, click here.