UW-Extension: Videos help parents with behavior challenges
Q. I am the parent of three children ranging from preschool through sixth grade. For the past three months, I have been juggling the homeschooling of my older children with taking care of my youngest child who needs a lot of attention. It has been very stressful for me, as a parent, and for my children too. Where can I find parenting support during this time?
A. Thank you for your question. This spring has certainly challenged parents in ways they never could have imagined. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are spending much more time with their children. Spending more time together can result in many positive moments such as playing together, exploring nature and slowing down from normal daily obligations. On the other hand, spending more time together can also result in more behavioral challenges.
Some of these behaviors are typical for young children such as not listening, whining, impatience, sibling squabbles and even temper tantrums. However, it is important to recognize that children may also be experiencing behavioral challenges that can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. With schools and some childcare centers closed, there are disruptions to daily routines. Children may also have fear or anxiety and face boredom. Even with more parent-child time together, children may actually receive less attention as parents try to balance working from home and/or homeschooling other siblings. Young children naturally crave their parent’s attention so goes the phrase, “negative attention is better than no attention.” These are not normal times and parents across the country are doing their best under extraordinary circumstances.
During this time of social distancing, the usual avenues of support for parents may not be easily available. As a result, many parents are turning to social media for resources and information. While social media offers abundant and overwhelming options for information and resources, finding trusted information on parenting can be difficult.
Fortunately, Extension offers a trusted source of information of parenting information through its Parenting Behind the Behavior videos. These are short research-based, positive parenting videos from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. The videos are free and address a variety of topics.
Parents can choose from approximately 60 videos, and new videos are released at noon every Thursday. Each video is 3 to 5 minutes long and shares practical tips on topics related to family engagement and child development. A sampling of videos that could be helpful to parents during these challenging times include:
#61, “Creating a Simple Routine”
#57, “Responding to Scary Events”
#50, “Keeping Kids Active Indoors”
#40, “Getting your Child’s Attention, Alternatives to Yelling”
Parents should know that they are not alone during this time and are encouraged to reach out for support when needed. As impossible as it may sound, taking a little time for parent self-care each day is important during these stressful times. Extension educators hope that some of these videos will help to lighten the load, and make this difficult time a bit easier.
To view Parenting Behind the Behavior videos, visit facebook.com/HDRInstitute.
Sarah Hawks is a family and community educator for Extension Racine County, a Department of UW-Madison.