How the Pandemic Changed the Way People Parent

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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.

Maternity Care Has Changed Drastically

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.

Parents Are More Mindful of Illnesses, Germs, Viruses, and Bacteria

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.

There’s a Hyperfocus on Mental Health and Emotional Wellness

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.

A Heavier Focus on Interactions

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.

Better Preventative Care and Maintenance

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.

More Time To Bond

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.

Conclusion

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.

6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Day

You’ll have goals and aspirations that you want to reach in your life. That could be in your work, your relationships, your personal goals, and so on. However, it’s hard to reach those goals when you don’t know when to start. It’s often best to ask yourself some key questions every day, to keep yourself on track and ensure that you’re getting what you want.

  1. What Bad Habits Are Getting In My Way?

Everyone has some bad habits, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you want to get ahead and reach your goals though, you’ll need to start trying to change them. Think about the habits that are holding you back. For example, you may have a bad habit of putting off replying to emails until the last minute. That makes things stressful, and you may find that you actually miss out on opportunities because of it.

If you struggle with this bad habit, find a way around it, or a way to reshape it. With emails, using this example, you could set a time every day when you respond to emails. That way, you can do it it for a few minutes every day, and ensure that you don’t miss anything.

  • Did I Work Toward My Goal Today?

When you think of working towards a goal, you’ll think of large steps you’ll take towards achieving that dream. That isn’t always how it goes, though. “Typically, you’ll take very small, but important, steps towards a goal” says Hannah Graham, a technical writer from UK Services Reviews and Essayroo review. “Every time you make one of those steps, you’ve made progress.”

As such, ask yourself if you’ve made any steps towards your end goal today. That can be as simple as making a call, writing up a proposal, or researching online. If you have done something, you’ve made progress, and that’s important.

  • What Mistakes Did I Make Today?

This questions sounds quite counter productive at first glance. Why dwell on any mistakes that you made? Is it really helpful to sit and pick them apart?

It’s all about how you approach the question. You may well have made mistakes, but the key is not to beat yourself up about them. Instead, think about what you can learn from that mistake. What can you do differently, to ensure that it doesn’t happen again? If you know that, then you’re learning and growing as a person.

  • What Motivated Me Today?

Here’s another good question that you’ll want to ask yourself at the end of every day. Think about what you did today, and how you went about it. What motivated you to get up and go? What made you move forward with your goal?

If you can isolate what it is that keeps you motivated, you can use it to keep you pushing forward. Knowing what motivates you is a key part of success.

  • What Realities Do I Need To Accept?

“It’s true that with hard work and dedication, there are lots of things that you can accomplish” says Janet Viers, a business blogger from Study demic and Academ Advisor. “However, there are some things that are just out of your control.” You may well think that you have to push past these things to get what you want, but that often will only lead to failure.

Instead, it’s better to be realistic about the things that you cannot change. What obstacles in your way that you don’t have control over? While you may not be able to move them, you may be able to work around them.

  • Have I Improved From Yesterday?

Finally, you’ll want to ask yourself whether you’ve managed to improve yourself since the day before. There are lots of ways that you can do this. You can work on kicking a bad habit, such as in question one for example, or look to improve a little in a skill each day.

It’s up to you to understand what ‘improving’ means to you, and aim to do a little, every single day.

Ask yourself these questions every day, and you’ll be able to work on your goals and be the best person that you can be.

Sara Sparrow is a writer with Best essay services and Via Writing, where she focuses on self help and habit management. She’s also a blogger for Top writing services.

The Importance of Quality Family Time

As a parent, it can often feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends. After a long day of work, nothing sounds more appealing than sitting down and relaxing for the rest of the night to enjoy some peace and quiet while your child plays in their room or entertains themselves on a tablet.

Sometimes, you may not even have that option if your kids are involved in sports, arts, or other extracurricular activities.

When you do finally have some time for yourself, it’s understandable to want to “get out” and enjoy a social life with your friends.

However, none of these are necessarily healthy or acceptable routines to slip into. If you do, you’ll miss out on crucial bonding opportunities with your kids and/or teenagers that you’ll never get back. People like to talk about kids growing up in the blink of an eye, and it truly can feel that way sometimes.

Family time is important for both parents and kids, and it should be a priority in your life no matter what else you have going on. It’s normal to be exhausted sometimes and to just want a night to yourself. However, it’s crucial not to let it become a habit.

Let’s cover the importance of quality family time and how to incorporate more of it into your life with your loved ones.

Bring Back Family Dinner

Family dinners used to be a major component of the stereotypical American family. However, over the years, family dinners have changed. Parents and kids are busier. Activities continue later in the day. Electronics and technology have made it easier for everyone to eat at different times in different rooms.

However, sitting down for a meal as a family is about more than just fitting a stereotype or creating a Norman Rockwell-esque image. Regular dinners allow you and your family members to reconnect at the end of each day. It can take some creative scheduling and possible adjustments to make family dinner work every night, but even sitting down together a few nights a week is better than nothing. Family dinner’s biggest benefits include

  • Having fun with your loved ones
  • Learning about what your kids are going through
  • Strengthening your bond
  • Getting your kids interested in cooking and food
  • Teaching responsibilities
  • Sparking creativity

You don’t have to produce a gourmet meal every night. No matter what you have on your table, focus on the company and the time you have together. Create an ideal environment by choosing the right colors for your dining space, using warm lighting, and setting the table in an inviting and comforting way. When you make family dinner a priority, you might be surprised by how quickly it becomes everyone’s favorite part of the day.

Read Before Bed

When your child was younger, you probably had a nightly routine of reading them a book or two before they went to sleep. Unfortunately, it’s easy for life to get in the way again, and you might find yourself rushing through their nighttime routine now, so you can get some time to yourself.

If it’s been a while since you’ve read to your children, consider adding it back into both of your lives. Dedicating a special time to read a book with your child will strengthen your bond, and can have a profound impact on how they see the world. Reading to your child can also help them to develop a secure attachment from an early age, benefiting them into adulthood. Children with secure attachment bonds to their parents typically

  • Have high self-esteem
  • Get involved in healthier relationships
  • Have an easier time expressing their feelings

While reading before bed is a great way to help your kids wind down and improve their sleep hygiene, reading at any point during the day is beneficial for cognitive development and creativity.

You’ll also benefit from this dedicated time. Reading helps to improve sleep, can reduce stress, and can boost your concentration and ability to focus. Plus, you’ll learn new things along with your child and have an easier time seeing the world through their imagination.

Ditch the Digital Devices

Frankly, it doesn’t matter what you do with your family, as long as you’re dedicating yourself to it. Setting aside time to focus on your kids (and partner) is all that matters, whether you take a weekend camping trip or walk around the neighborhood after dinner.

A good rule of thumb, no matter what you do, is to leave cell phones and tablets behind when you’re spending time together. This shows your child that they’re getting your full attention and they’re the most important thing to you. It sets a positive example for them and can show both kids and teens that technology should never be more important than relationships.

No matter how you choose to spend quality time with your family, focus on being present. The things you do together now will shape your kids for the future and will create memories for you that will last a lifetime.

How To Keep Seasonal Allergies Under Control

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When you have seasonal allergies, it’s difficult to enjoy the spring and summer seasons without some discomfort. In fact, many people struggle with the symptoms of seasonal allergies year after year, and they don’t know how to get relief from these symptoms other than taking medication that can sometimes be more disruptive than helpful. However, there are steps you can take to alleviate your symptoms and enjoy these seasons more fully. This article will help you find the best ways to keep seasonal allergies under control so you can feel better and perform at your best.

Learn the Triggers

The most effective way to manage your allergies is by learning to avoid your triggers. For example, pollen and pet dander are both common triggers for seasonal allergies. If you have a pet, be sure to keep him or her out of your bedroom at night. It’s also a good idea to purchase a high-quality air purifier that can remove dust and pollen from your home.

Establish Good Sleeping Habits

A number of studies have linked poor sleep with increased production of allergy-related chemicals in your body. These include histamine, which helps protect against infection but is also a component of allergy symptoms; cytokines, which are a class of proteins involved in immune responses; and leukotrienes, which help regulate inflammation. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night because you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, make sure to establish good sleep habits by setting a regular bedtime and sticking to it. You can also take supplements like melatonin or try relaxation techniques that may encourage sleep.

Use an Air Purifier

When you’re dealing with allergies, it can be difficult to know what you should and shouldn’t do. Take steps to keep your living spaces clean by using an air purifier for your home that removes allergens and irritants from the air. These machines are able to remove pet dander, mold spores, pollen, dust mites, and even smoke from your home so you can spend time there without having reactions to those substances. Using one of these machines could help you feel better during allergy season without having to compromise your family’s lifestyle. Most households only need a small air purifier in one room of their house, but some may need more depending on how much time they spend at home and the size of their living space.

Don’t Put Off Going to See Your Doctor

The first-hand consultation with a doctor is an important step in figuring out how to manage your allergies. By laying out symptoms and undergoing a physical examination, your doctor can confirm or rule out various causes of your reaction. If you suspect you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, head to an allergist right away—don’t wait until symptoms have reached their peak. According to research, patients who received treatment for their seasonal allergies within two weeks had less severe symptoms than those who waited longer. The sooner you get medical help, the sooner you can start finding relief!

Exercise Regularly

People with a history of allergies or asthma often benefit from regular physical activity. The result is improved lung function, stronger immune systems, and lower stress levels, which can make seasonal allergy sufferers feel better overall. Plus, when you exercise regularly your body gets better at fighting off allergens. A regular routine can also increase stamina and make allergy season less miserable. (Try exercising for 30 minutes four times a week.) If you’re not an active person but want to start working out more to deal with allergies, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking on any new exercise routines—especially if you have respiratory issues that could be exacerbated by exercise-induced breathing problems.

Dust High Surfaces

When dust mites and mold spores settle on surfaces, they can often make allergies worse. Though you can’t see them, these tiny allergens can make a big difference in the way you feel. By doing a little everyday cleaning you’ll reduce the dust that collects on surfaces in your home, meaning less of them and more breathing room for you. Wipe down surfaces daily with a damp microfiber cloth and avoid using any harsh chemical cleaners or sprays around your home – they won’t do anything to kill allergens and they could actually cause other health problems (like respiratory issues) if you’re exposed over time. For surfaces you can’t reach easily, you can hire a professional service to do a high dusting of ceilings, vents, and other places where dust may settle. Remember: A clean house isn’t just cleaner; it’s also healthier too!

Other Solutions

Getting a little dusting of pollen is natural and inevitable, but if you have allergies, it’s a good idea to take precautions. For example, when you head outside on those warm summer days, you might want to bring along an extra set of clothes so that you can change if your allergies start acting up. You may also want to consider sitting indoors in air-conditioning for a bit before going back outside. Keep in mind that many allergy medications don’t work well unless they’re taken one or two hours before exposure. Other options include: wearing masks (there are many varieties available) or taking antihistamines and corticosteroids.

Unique Ideas For The Ultimate Date Night

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It’s not what you do, but who you do it with! That said, it never hurts to have some special ideas in store besides the classic dinner and a movie combo. Whether you’re preparing for a first date with a crush or planning some quality time with your spouse, there are plenty of unique ways to spend a romantic evening together at home or around town. Here are 10 ideas to make your next date night unforgettable!

1. Get Your Game On

There’s nothing like a little fun competition to spice things up! Beat boredom at home with a board game, and make a friendly wager—loser buys dinner! If you both enjoy video games, choose a multiplayer game that you can play together. If you feel like getting out of the house, arcades are a blast for kids and adults alike. Games are great for dates because they give you something to focus on, naturally keeping the dreaded small talk at bay.

2. Pamper Yourselves

Treat yourselves to some vacation vibes by booking some appointments at local spas and salons or hiring professionals to perform their beauty services in the comfort of your home. Getting a massage, a manicure/pedicure, or even a haircut is so much fun together, and you’ll feel amazing afterwards. If you really want to make things interesting, consider getting cryotherapy or acupuncture, or even booking a session in a sensory deprivation tank.

3. Take a Stroll

When it comes to cheap date ideas, it doesn’t get much more frugal than taking a nice walk. In fact, if you’re feeling ambitious, you could even take your dog walking while you explore your local surroundings and interact with some pups! Instead of walking to a planned destination, choose a direction, and see where the road takes you. Just wandering around a new neighborhood can be so rewarding.

You could make your walk even more exciting by turning it into a photo scavenger hunt. Before heading out on your adventure, make a list of things to take pictures of. Whoever scratches the most items off the list wins! Another option is to simply have a contest to see who can take the best photo while you’re out. Post them on social media when you get back, and let the public decide the winner.

4. Enjoy a Feast Together

They say the fastest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Instead of going out to eat, why not cook for each other? If you’re not exactly a five-star chef, look up easy recipes that you can work on together. DIY meal kits are also fantastic for date nights, and they’ll save you a trip to the supermarket. By the time you’re finished with your culinary creation, you’ll either have a delicious meal or a lesson learned. Either way, it’s all about the journey, and if the destination tastes good, that’s even better!

5. Make a Collaborative Playlist

Music and romance go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for cute and romantic date ideas, consider making a playlist together. Crank up the speakers, pour a glass of wine or three, and get nostalgic as you take turns introducing each other to your favorite tunes. Dancing is encouraged, but not mandatory. If you really want to get wild with the date, instead of just listening, pull up the karaoke tracks on YouTube and belt them out to your audience of one.

6. Check Out Live Music or Comedy

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Date night is an opportunity to explore your local arts and culture. Even if you don’t have any music or comedy venues in your area, many bars and restaurants have regular performances and/or open mic nights where you can discover some amazing talent. Even if you don’t end up loving the performances, just being out and about and enjoying nightlife together is a great time.

7. Get Crafty

Embrace your inner child with arts and crafts! You could get some paint and canvases and do portraits, make each other tie-dye shirts, or make sculptures with modeling clay. There are endless possibilities, so if you’re not sure where to start, take a quick trip to your local craft store and get inspired. Besides having a whole lot of fun learning a new skill, you might even find your new favorite hobby.

8. Build a Pillow Fort

Speaking of embracing your inner child, when’s the last time you made a pillow fort? Gather all of your blankets and pillows and create the ultimate comfort nest where you can binge shows, have a movie marathon, or just talk all night. Don’t forget the snacks!

9. Learn an Instrument

The internet has made expert lessons easily accessible, so why not learn how to play a musical instrument? You might not be getting hired to play with an orchestra anytime soon, but you can pick up the basics. And if you stick with it, eventually, you’ll be playing beautiful music together. There are plenty of cheap instruments, like recorders, tin whistles, ukuleles, kalimbas, maracas, and harmonicas, just to name a few.

10. Go for a Bike Ride

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A bike ride makes such a fun date day, but it can make a wonderful date night too as long as you stick to well-lit roads or paths. Bikes can be the focal point of the date—ride where the wind takes you—or you could choose a destination like a restaurant or movie theater. Either way, biking turns a normal evening out into an adventure.

Don’t Overthink It

A date is just the backdrop for your time spent together. It’s an excuse to get to know someone new or do something fun with the person you fancy. No matter what you end up doing, focus on enjoying each other’s company first and foremost—the activity itself is just an afterthought! Finally, never underestimate the power of a good view. Sometimes, all you need is the right scenery (and person) for sparks to fly.