Pediatrician’s advice for dealing with parenting stress during stay-home order

KINGWOOD, Texas – The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds you that if you're stressed out right now, your kids may start to exhibit similar symptoms of stress and anxiety.

According to Chikku Paul, MD, with the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Kingwood, almost all of his patients’ stress right now is related to one of three things and there are three fixes.

The three biggest stressors for parents include:

  • A lack of social support and connectivity
  • Financial concern
  • Lack of routine

Paul said to mentally prepare to be home with kids for the next several weeks. Anxiously waiting to return to regular routines will only make stressful situations feel worse.

“If you are staying home with your kids then that is step one, you are doing the right thing. So if you’re stressed and it’s because you’re staying at home, you have to give yourself some leeway first, knowing that you are doing the right thing,” Paul said. “Whatever we are doing now, we are probably going to be doing that for the next couple of weeks, so we set our schedules for that period of time. Otherwise, will be anxious waiting for it to end tomorrow or the next day so that is kind of, get your mindset on a long-term plan.”

He also sympathized with people struggling with job loss right now but said he believes (based on past pandemics) that these concerns are all temporary.

Paul recommended these three ways to decrease stress:

  • Exercise

“Less physical activity means more irritability because exercise releases hormones that make you happy and peaceful. So, when you decrease your exercise activity or physical activity, then you decrease your sense of well-being,” Paul said.

  • Allow for free time

“Sometimes you assign free time and you really don’t care what they do, but it is important for them to have free time without the screens,” Paul warned.

  • Avoid alcohol

Simply being home and being stressed are two of the biggest risk factors for people to become dependent on alcohol. Now is not the time to start drinking just because you’re home and stressed out.

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