Family is the most important thing in life. Everyone needs people they can rely on and turn to when life gets tough. If you’re looking to create your own support system, here are three things to consider when starting a family.
There’s More Than One Way to Have a Family
Not every family was created through traditional methods. For example, single people can start a family of their own. You don’t have to be married to have a child. Also, there have been scientific advancements for people struggling to conceive. Women can undergo in-vitro fertilization treatments, or they can use a surrogate. Finally, there are so many great reasons to adopt a child to consider. There’s nothing more fulfilling than giving a home to a child in need. No family is identical to another. As long as you end up with the family of your dreams, it doesn’t matter how you got there.
What About Work?
Nurses have one of the most important jobs on the planet. The COVID-19 outbreak has reminded the world that nurses deserve our respect and admiration. One thing to consider when starting a family is if you’ll go back to work after some time. Another thing that the current climate has shown people is that being a stay-at-home mom is no easy feat. Single mothers are champions to us all. Ultimately, any decision you make is the right one. If you can financially afford to stay home, and that’s what you want to do, then that’s perfectly okay. On the other hand, you must sort through childcare options if you decide to reenter the workforce.
Are You Ready for Change?
Starting a family is a huge life decision. Anyone thinking about doing this should consider if they’re ready for such a lifestyle change. People must be prepared to give up their freedom, in a sense. Once you become a parent, your child is completely reliant on you. Make sure you’re ready to take on that responsibility and any ensuing challenges. Parenthood isn’t always laughter and smiles. There are tantrums and fights, too. You must think about the good and the bad before becoming a parent.
COVID-19 has shown the world to never take anything for granted. Lots of people are taking a hard look at their lives and making significant changes. Perhaps more people are thinking about starting a family. If you’re in this boat, make sure you’re financially and emotionally prepared to raise a child.
How To Support Your Kids During COVID-19
Parenting is a tough job at the best of times when schools and stores are open, and children have actives to go to and playdates to participate in. But during a global pandemic, there is a whole new set of challenges facing parents.
Online school requires much more hands-on help from parents without teachers physically present to run their classrooms. Activities are canceled, and parks across the country have closed or are operating with limited hours. Being a parent during these difficult times is trying, especially when one or both parents are essential workers.
Older kids may be feeling uncertain and anxious and require extra support. At the same time, younger children may not understand what’s going on at all and feel misplaced frustration at the changes they’re experiencing. All parents are struggling with the same thing: figuring out how to support your kids during COVID-19.
Talk to them about what’s going on.
Be open with your kids, and tell them what’s happening in the world. Sheltering them from a global crisis can’t do them much good. They’re bound to talk about it in schools now and going into the future. Having an open conversation with your children about the current state of the world and why they’re having school online is crucial so they will feel safe and secure with you and at home. Talking about uncertainty can help reduce anxiety.
Different age levels comprehend things differently, so take your child’s age into account before having the conversation. Give your children time to process, and let them know they can come to you with any questions they may have, but set a realistic expectation that you may not have all the answers yet, just like the rest of the world.
Keep them protected from the virus.
It’s best to keep your kids at home when you have to venture to the grocery store, but for many single parents, this isn’t an option. If you must take your kids into a public area where social distancing may be difficult, take precautions.
Older children should wear face masks just like you. Never put a face mask on a baby or young toddler because they are more at risk of suffocation. Take normal steps to protect your baby from illness by washing your hands and theirs often, reminding older children not to touch their faces, and watching them for signs of infection.
If you are an essential worker, such as a nurse that may be exposed to COVID-19, take extra precautions when coming home from work by showering and changing your clothing when you get home and limiting (as much as possible) your direct contact with your children.
Use your newfound at home time as family time.
One thing that the shelter in place orders are providing is extra time at home for most families. Use this time to bond with your children and have family nights. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend some uninterrupted family time together. Bonding as a family can help your kids feel supported and a little more normal during this confusing time. Maintaining a bit of normalcy can help them feel happier and more comfortable at home.
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Being a new parent is as exciting as it is tiring. First-time parents have a hard time finding the happy-medium between caring for the new baby enough and caring for themselves enough.
To help you veer off the path of burnout, try to introduce a few of these self-care tips every first-time parent should know. I’ve found that it was important to reach out to family when I was too tired—hopefully, these tips will make you feel less exhausted like they did for me. Check them out!
It Takes a Village—Use Them
They always say that parenting and raising a child takes a village, so if you have a strong support system, don’t be afraid to use them. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is expecting to do it all on their own and stay healthy.
For example, sleep is essential for parents, just as it’s essential for babies. Yet we see plenty of parents running into the dangers of driving while drowsy because they’re not reaching out to their village for help. When you reach out for help, you avoid not just the dangers of tired driving but also the overall dangers that a lack of sleep can do to your body and mind.
Design a Calming Space—Go There
Your baby has their calming nursery, and you and your partner need that same kind of space that encourages calm and relaxation. It may be your bedroom, but that may also be a place that you just want to reserve for sleep.
Instead, create a hobby room or something similar that will help you unwind while the baby is asleep. It could be a green room, a library nook, or anything else that will put you into a zen mindset. I even started just making the couch by the window a little bit cozier for me so I could turn there whenever I needed to.
Try to Add Meditation to Your Routine—Mindfulness is Key
This may seem hard for a lot of people because to some, meditation seems like a sham. However, the power of an in-tune mindset and a positive headspace can do wonders for making you feel more comfortable and confident as a parent. Even simply listening to a bedtime story that you play for your child before bed can ease your mind and release those internal tensions.
Thankfully, there are tons of apps you can use to get started on the path to mindfulness—I use Headspace, but Calm and Inscape are other wonderful options.
Take Care of Your Body—As Much As You Take Care of Your Child’s
Taking care of your body is one of the most important acts of self-care first-time parents can perform. It’s going to seem really hard as a parent to put yourself even second on your priority list. However, if you’re feeling low and drained, you need to start taking care of your body as much as you take care of your child’s.
This can be as simple as cooking yourself a nutritious meal or leaving the laundry for tomorrow so you can sleep the same time the baby does. You could also do some yoga while you let the baby have some tummy time. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
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Sensory exploration or play is a natural way for babies and young children to learn and make sense of the world around them. As parents, we need to provide opportunities for our children to actively use their senses through sensory play activities.
Sensory play refers to activities that stimulate one or more of a child’s senses, including touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing. Examples of sensory play include creating sensory bins, finger painting, or making slime. To learn about some of the key benefits of sensory play for child development, continue reading.
Sensory play helps facilitate brain development
Sensory exploration serves a critical role in the brain development of children. While engaging in sensory play, the brain’s pathways build new nerve connections. The formation of these nerve connections during simple sensory play will help children complete more complex learning tasks in the future. As such, sensory play helps support cognitive growth.
Sensory play helps strengthen children’s memories
Children tend to learn and retain information the best when their senses are engaged. As such, sensory exploration can aid children in developing and enhancing their memories.
As children have sensory experiences, they file the information they acquire away into their sensory memory. The more senses that are engaged, the better their ability to retain a memory typically is.
For example, a bonfire on a summer night may be particularly memorable as the smell of smoke, the taste of s’mores, the sounds of the crackling fire, and the warmth from the fire stimulate a wide variety of senses. As we get older, this concept doesn’t change, and even adults are more likely to retain information better by stimulating their senses.
Sensory exploration can help children enhance their language skills
Sensory play is a great way to help your child enhance and develop their language skills. As children engage their senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing, they expand their ability to describe objects.
Rather than simply identifying what objects are, they can provide further information on the unique characteristics of the item as they relate to the senses. For example, by expanding their senses, a child can describe a meal as cold, warm, crunchy, soft, sweet, salty, or a wide variety of other sensory descriptors.
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It is not an easy time to be a nurse. Long hours, risking the health of yourself and your family, and long hours on your feet are all a part of your daily life. Nursing is hard work that matters. You help save lives and aid in the recovery of hundreds of people. It’s hard to get through long shifts, but with a few comforts, you can make it a little easier.
Check out this guide on how to survive a long nursing shift.
While you are most likely required to wear scrubs, there are additional ways to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Wear only scrubs that are comfortable. Every nurse knows the struggle of that one pair of scrubs that for some reason is just plain uncomfortable. Whether the elastic is starting to dry rot or the top just doesn’t sit right on you, keep these scrubs out of the rotation on long shifts.
Long shifts are uncomfortable enough without a pair of scrubs with an itchy tag or too-long pant legs. Wear your favorite pair of scrubs and your most comfortable undergarments. Adding a pair of compression socks can help ease the strain on your feet and legs, so consider adding a pair to your usual nursing outfit.
If you can take a break, really take it
On some shifts you may be too busy to get in a real break, but on the shifts where you’re able to take an actual break, really take it. This means get out of your area, go to a break room, a different part of the hospital or office, or even go outside and sit on a bench and simply breathe in the fresh air if weather permits.
Sometimes getting out of the bustling and intense medical care environment, even for 15 minutes, can do wonders for your energy levels, focus, and mental health.
Last, the best way to survive a long nursing shift is by taking care of yourself. As a nurse, you’re always taking care of others’ needs. This can quickly become second nature to a nurse—so much so that you may forget to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is essential to taking care of others because, if you are not well, you cannot help others get better either.
Be sure to eat snacks throughout the shift to keep your energy up and your tummy full. Drink plenty of fluids (you tell your patients this all the time—may as well take your own advice!) and give yourself moments to simply take a deep breath when things feel overwhelming.
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We’re living through an unprecedented moment in history right now. Practically the entire country is shut down, and hospitals are close to their breaking point. Through all of the devastation and uncertainty, heroes in the healthcare field have gone above and beyond to save lives.
Here are three ways to support healthcare workers during COVID-19. These people are putting their lives on the line every time they go to work. It’s our responsibility to show them how much we appreciate their service.
Bake Tasty Treats
Right now, thousands of nurses and doctors are working exhausting shifts at the hospital. These healthcare professionals are running on empty, and they often don’t even have time to go home for basic essentials. So, one way to support healthcare workers during this time is to bake them delicious treats. I can’t imagine how exhausted these people are.
A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, I should show my appreciation to the workers with homemade goodies. So I whipped up as many butternut squash cupcakes as I could. Then, I put them in clean containers and dropped them off at a local hospital with a note thanking everyone for their hard work. I was glad to put a smile on their faces, if only for a short period of time.
Post on Social Media
Spread some love on social media for the healthcare workers in your life. Doctors and nurses are incredibly overwhelmed right now. Do what you can to put a smile on their faces. Write some kind and encouraging words on Facebook so that the experts know you’re by their side. Please, utilize your musical talents if you have them, as well. If you’re a skillful singer, sing an inspiring tune on social media and dedicate it to those on the frontline. I don’t know how to carry a tune for the life of me; however, I do try to share positive messages whenever I can.
We’ve all seen the horror stories of nurses having to re-wear masks multiple times because there’s a shortage. If you have extra PPE lying around, donate it to a hospital in your area. Nurses and physicians will greatly appreciate the extra supplies.
Yes, we all should be wearing PPE when we go outside. However, healthcare workers need it more. If you can spare some gloves or masks, please do so. The nation is facing a shortage unlike any other in human history. Do your part to contribute where you can.
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