Much has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. The world is much more tuned into the guidance of health and wellness professionals. Our economic landscape has devolved and evolved. And the norms for interactions have transitioned to mostly digital platforms.
Parents have changed, too. They’re worried about their children’s health and safety more than ever. But they’re also committed to doing more to nurture and protect children’s health, wellness, and personhood.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Parenting starts in the womb.” Bonding with and caring for a child starts well before entering the world. Maternity care is essential to a child’s healthy development during and after pregnancy.
That said, the pandemic drastically changed maternity care. For example, many doctors are adopting a hybrid approach to prenatal and postpartum checkups. This involves both in-person and virtual appointments.
Further, many practices don’t allow multiple people in the delivery room anymore and require shorter hospital stays after birth. On a positive note, however, they’re ramping up mental health and other post-birth resources to support mothers and families at home. Even though maternity care in hospitals and offices has changed, the at-home support for mothers and their new babies is improving.
If the pandemic has prompted anything from parents, it’s to be more aware of how dangerous various germs, viruses, and bacteria can be for their children. Aside from COVID-19, parents are practicing greater awareness of other common childhood illnesses, allowing them to identify symptoms more quickly and efficiently.
For instance, lethargy is one of the most common symptoms of a sick baby. It typically resolves on its own. But, when excessive exhaustion, sleep, or unresponsiveness lasts long-term, it could signify something more serious. It’s essential to pay attention to children’s physical appearance, how they act, what they touch, and what is put in their mouths. The pandemic has prompted parents to be more in tune with these indicators.
The CDC revealed that, at the start of April 2020, pediatric emergency department visits related to mental health increased and remained that way through October. The study also stated, “Compared with 2019, the proportion of mental health-related visits for children aged 5–11 and 12–17 years increased approximately 24% and 31%, respectively.” As hard as this is to read, it shone a light on the need for better support for children’s mental health.
Parents have since opened up the conversation around their kids’ mental health and emotional wellness. They’ve also played a more active role in ensuring their children receive the support they need, whether that is therapy, self-care, or another treatment option. Seeking out and providing more support for mental health and emotional wellness is one of the most positive parenting changes since the pandemic.
One of the most memorable things about the pandemic is the “six-feet apart” rule. We spent many months not being able to hug our distant loved ones, give handshakes to strangers, or touch in any aspect because it could spread COVID-19.
This was tough on our kids, as children are more likely to want to express themselves with physical touch. Even though the above restrictions have since eased, parents are still conscious of whom they and their children interact with. They’re also more mindful of their surroundings and where they go, ensuring their kids aren’t around sick individuals or too many people at once. Group gatherings are returning, but parents are more appreciative of and willing to attend smaller events.
There were a lot of parents who may have neglected preventative care and maintenance before the pandemic. However, since medical professionals emphasized it as a tangible way to combat COVID-19 and illnesses in the future, parents have taken heed of this advice.
For example, parents are keeping up with all their children’s preventative care and specialist appointments. They’re also doing the small gestures that maintain their child’s health, like ensuring they wash their hands often, use hand sanitizer in public places, and mask up when necessary. Better preventative care and maintenance is a big win for parents and children post-pandemic.
Many parents transitioned to working from home during the pandemic. It was challenging for many to balance parenting and working, but those who did it successfully enjoyed the benefits of more family time and sharing hobbies with their kids.
More quality family time helped parents appreciate how important it is to nurture parent-child relationships, not just for the relationship’s growth but for their child’s development. Parents have continued this trend after the pandemic. They are doing more to form stronger bonds with their kids and help them grow into who they genuinely are so that they can flourish as adults with healthy attachment styles.
The pandemic has changed the way people parent in more ways than one. Although some parents have chosen to keep their kids on lockdown, many others have instead decided to take mindful actions to better support their child’s health, wellness, and safety so that they can enjoy a post-pandemic world. This way, they can grow in safe, effective environments conducive to their success.