Parenting in isolation isn't natural. It's just not the way humans usually raise little humans. We've said before that the proverbial village is so important for parents and that mothers suffer the most when it disappears.

That's why we are so glad the global village is stepping up to help parents who now must raise children in unnaturally restrictive circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.

The world-renowned University of Oxford is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to launch 6 one-page tips for parents to get us through this time. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children also partnered in the creation of these tips.

Lucie Cluver, Professor of Child and Family Social Work at the University of Oxford developed the tips—which cover everything from how to talk to your kids about COVID-19 to how keep calm and manage stress.

"Globally, we are now parenting under extremely stressful conditions," says Cluver. "Not only are children and teenagers out of school, but families are living with increased stress, fear and financial worries. All of these make us less tolerant and more irritable. At its most serious, we know that violence in homes increases during times of school closures associated with health emergencies. But this is for everyone who needs and deserves effective parenting support."

There is so much info floating around the internet right now which claims to tell parents how to parent during the pandemic, but much of it is not rooted in science or approved by experts. These tip sheets from Oxford are evidence-based and vetted by experts.



"These tips are for all of us who are wondering how we are going to manage with our children at home for the next weeks or months! But this time of hardship may also allow for creative opportunity: a chance to build stronger relationships with our families, and to have fun together—which is great for children's wellbeing and sense of security," says Cluver.

Volunteers are currently translating the sheets into 55 languages, with translations available on covid19parenting.com. The resources are backed up by a letter published in The Lancet on March 25, 2020, available here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30736-4/fulltext

These resources were developed in partnership with WHO, UNICEF, the Internet of Good Things, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID and the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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