“Hi, my name is Dr. Maneet Bhatia. I hope wherever you’re watching this video, you’re keeping safe and healthy. Today, what I want to talk to you about is my need for a haircut. Actually, there’s much more to say, I just need a haircut and I truly appreciate my barber during COVID-19, and I’ll never take them for granted again.

But putting aside my attempts at humour, what I want to talk to you about today actually is what we’ve been discussing in our Instagram page is around parenting tips and strategies. As you know, we’ve been going through this process and trying to cope, we talked about self-reflections here, self-compassion, wearing multiple hats.

As parents and caregivers, we’re being pushed in all kinds of directions, and it’s incredibly difficult to be the best parent, the best partner, the best co-worker, employee, employer. So this is a very, very difficult time and fundamentally, and primarily the first and foremost piece of all this as parents is keeping our children safe and doing the best we can within our capacities.

And like we talked about on our Instagram, this is the new normal. There is no book for this, there are no guidelines, there is no manual. We’re doing what we can to the best of our capacity. So it starts with self- compassion, self-love, and tied to that is self-care. In order to be there for somebody else, you have to be there for yourself.

We’re always taught in an airplane, they say in the event of an emergency, you put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help somebody else. So if we want to be there for our children, our loved ones, we have to be there for ourselves in order to be there for them. And in order to do that, we have to engage in going for walks, eating healthy, taking long showers, being in nature, reaching out to a therapist if you need. Socializing safely with people over FaceTime or telephone calls. You have to find ways to disconnect for yourself so you can be there for your kids and for your family.

Also, it’s setting healthy boundaries, separating work from home and finding clear delineations with that. And also talking to your partner or the caregiver in your life with you around setting healthy limits and expectations regarding when we’ll be doing homework with our kids, who will take turns with that process so you don’t feel alone in that.

As well, it’s letting your co-workers and your employer, or your colleagues know that “even though I’m working, I’m also working to be a parent and I’m at a full capacity.” If that means having honest, genuine conversations with your co-worker or your team leaders or your employees about how much you can take on right now and being open and transparent … and hopefully that perspective is honoured and heard. But we have to be able to share that so we can set healthy limits with ourselves and not set ourselves up for failure because we can’t meet some unrealistic goals.

It’s also being more compassionate in our care for our kids. Some of us want to reduce our children’s screen time and be more active in their care. But sometimes it may mean that we have to give them a little more screen time if we want to cook their dinner, or if we want to get through a quick email, we might have to be, let them be on their screen time for a little bit longer. Everything needs to be monitored, obviously, and within moderation, but we have to find ways to survive, essentially, with compassion and kindness.

These are just some of the strategies and tips. A lot of it is a perspective and a mind frame and an intention towards trying to be the healthiest versions of ourselves given this very difficult time. I hope you’re doing the best you can managing, and I’ll talk to you soon.”

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