By Portland Children’s Museum
This article originally appeared in Museum@Home, Portland Children’s Museum’s biweekly email of early childhood resources for caregivers during the pandemic and beyond! Subscribe today for curated @Home Experiences, reading collections, and social-emotional support delivered right to your inbox. Catch-up or revisit past email issues, and share your @Home creations on social media using the hashtag #PDXcmAtHome.
“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.” —Fred Rogers
While the need for caregiving has been amplified in this time of global pandemic, the central and vital role of the caregiver has largely been overshadowed by those being cared for.
Caring for children is no easy task in the best of times, and it is exponentially more difficult with added stressors brought on by the coronavirus, the current political landscape, and world events.
There is a silent, yet palpable, understanding that parents and caregivers are exhausted. Often, their efforts and sacrifices are made without gratitude in return. It is the nature of caregiving.
Fred Rogers provides an apt reminder to be proud of the countless ways parents have shown up for their child and said ‘yes!’
Caregiving can’t happen if the caregiver isn’t nourished—which means prioritizing self-care. Practicing self-care, in turn, models what self-care looks like to children. It helps parents continue to support and nurture their children with care despite the circumstances in which they find themselves.
So, if you…
- Left a job to care for a child at home
- Are a front-line worker caring for a child at home
- Are fighting against racial injustice while caring for a child at home
- Lost a loved one to COVID while caring for a child at home
- Are experiencing food insecurity while caring for a child at home
- Have been affected by wildfires while caring for a child at home
- Are navigating distance learning with a child at home
- Lost your job and are caring for a child at home
…you have made the world go ‘round & without you, the world could not survive.
@HOME EXPERIENCE: PRACTICING SELF-CARE
Give yourself grace & space.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to online schooling or anything else that might add extra stress to your day. We are all doing the best we can during a very difficult time. It’s okay to take breaks, rest, and be alone. Young children can benefit from routine downtime too, so feel free to set aside a period of quiet time each day for everyone in the house.
Reconnect with things that bring you joy, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.
Allow your child to see you doing something you genuinely love, whether it’s reading, walking, artmaking, meditating, or anything else that fortifies your soul. If your child can join in on the fun, all the better!
Limit your daily news intake & avoid doom-scrolling at night.
Look to credible news sources to stay informed about what’s happening in the world, but avoid reading, watching, or listening to the news constantly. Perhaps try researching new music or an interesting podcast to help recharge your batteries instead.
Remember that it takes a village.
Taking care of a child at home is an incredibly rewarding and difficult task, especially in today’s world. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from a loving person you and your child trust, whether you need to make a grocery run or just need a listening ear to talk to. If you don’t have someone close to lean on, there are many mutual aid networks in Portland that are willing and eager to help, such as mutualaidhub.org and necoalition.org.
These diverse picture books showcase supportive and resilient caregivers who can inspire us all in our journey together.
A Gift From Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz
Abuela and Niña’s close relationship is tested as both grow older and hard times take away Abuela’s dream of buying Niña something special, but their love remains the best gift of all.
Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
A little girl’s daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self.
Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan
A lyrical and heartwarming story of a parent’s unconditional love for her children, while celebrating the values of community, hope, and wonder.
Saturday by Oge Mora
Ava’s mother works six days a week, so Saturday is their only special day together. But what happens when life doesn’t exactly deliver on its promise? Join a mother and daughter on a journey that reminds them of what’s best about Saturdays: precious time together.
Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark
A child and a grandfather walk around the neighborhood and enjoy a quiet day of shared wonder as they discover all sorts of tiny, perfect things together.
You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith
This gentle and affirming book looks at simple ways caregivers and children support each other and shows how actions and words are deeply connected.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell
‘Otsaliheliga’ is a Cherokee word used to express gratitude. Journey through the year with a Cherokee family and their tribal nation as they express thanks for celebrations big and small. Ejoy a look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.