(Family Features) As many parents can attest, raising healthy, happy, confident children is demanding, especially because their children’s well-being is impacted by almost every decision they make. Even the most confident person can have moments of doubt, and societal, economic and pandemic-related issues compound these challenges.
In fact, 1 in 6 parents said “parenting during COVID-19 has been the most stressful time of my life,” according to a KinderCare and Harris Poll survey.
As parents look to move beyond these issues, the survey also found parents feel more confident in their parenting abilities with 86% reporting they “feel confident in their parenting on a typical day.”
“Knowing their children are in a safe and secure environment goes a long way to support parent confidence,” said Dr. Elanna Yalow, chief academic officer of KinderCare Learning Centers. “Focusing on nurturing the whole child, as well as protecting health and safety, gives parents peace of mind and enhances their confidence that their children are off to the best start in life.”
Consider these three things parents can do to help boost confidence in their parenting skills:
Communicate Early and Often
Whether your child is in child care or school, ensuring your family has open and consistent communication with care providers and teachers is vital. Families and teachers or care providers share an important role in educating and caring for young children. By regularly sharing stories and observations about each child’s progress, teachers can reassure families their children are recognized and valued as the unique people they are.
Ask Questions to Reduce Concerns
Few things help bolster parent confidence more than knowing their children are safe and sound, no matter where they are. Be sure to ask your child care provider or school for more information about its health and safety protocols and emergency plan. Knowing how certain situations will be handled can reduce uncertainty and stress. Families seeking child care should ensure they have a list of questions to ask potential providers to help them feel confident in their decisions.
Become an Advocate for Families
Parents are increasingly leveraging work flexibility to be more present in their children’s lives; 65% of survey participants said “having enough time to spend with my children” was a top factor in boosting their confidence levels. If you’d like to try hybrid work or have more support for your child care needs, talk with your employer about child care benefits. It may be helpful to talk with coworkers first to understand their needs so you can advocate for the needs of all parents, not just yourself. Potential benefits could include the ability to have a flexible work schedule that supports children’s routines and needs, an employer-sponsored child care tuition subsidy or backup care. You’re likely not alone in your desire for child care benefits. The majority of parents surveyed said they would stay in their current jobs if child care benefits were offered.