Positive Parenting in Uncertain Times. Part 12

Mon April 6th 2020

The ‘New Norm’ – How’s it going?

I’m not  normally an anxious person, my three children are healthy, yet I found myself last week struggling with the ‘New Norm’.

Suddenly the ‘families’ that were seen out biking and walking for exercise isn’t as obvious, people don’t appear as friendly, the waving has slowed down, traffic flow is busy with people being in a ‘rush’ to get to places, the drive way banter and socializing has stopped. Communities are trying to re-establish themselves. 

Certainly, in my house life continues, as the seasons have changed, new clothes and shoes needed to be purchased, therefore a shopping trip to the larger city had to occur. 


Shopping for the kid’s winter clothes, I prepared my children for the fact we’d need to line up and wait to enter stores, not to touch anything unnecessarily, constant sanitizing of hands and the occasional form filling for contract tracing.

What I was not prepared for was the ‘looks’ as my children appeared to be ‘playing’ in the stores, laughing and entertaining themselves whilst their sibling tried on clothes. I felt as though the ‘fun’ had been taken out of the shopping experience, I felt as the mum I needed to tell my children to “Be quiet”, not to ‘laugh’ and to ‘act sensible’.

I also wasn’t prepared for the request to ‘kindly leave my children in the foyer of the store at the checkouts or the request that they stay ‘outside’ whilst I went into the bank.

My children are 13, 11 and 9 – I could see them from inside the bank, but I wasn’t prepared for the mere fact that it was preferred they stay outside.

Then there was the ‘absence’ of toilet availability in stores and my children’s preference to not use public toilets. Instead they tried desperately to ‘hold it in’ throughout the day.

What was noticeable too was the inconsistency of the stores, that left me then questioning what I had to do to keep myself ‘safe’. Coming home and writing a log of the stores I’d been in, people I might have known, stopped and chatted too and friends I popped in to see that day too. 

My children said the shopping experience felt: Weird, Tense, Crazy and not fun.

I felt slightly anxious, upset and just wanted to get home.

Then it made me think and question how you and your children are finding the experience of leaving your home and township to embark on ‘everyday’ chores.  Especially those with children affected by a fragile medical condition. 

If you haven’t ventured out into stores, malls, restaurants and bars yet I’d suggest before you do, remember to prepare your children for the feelings they may encounter whilst out.

Talk to them about contact tracing, what is the purpose? 

The new memory game (take turns to copy each other and then add an additional store on your go) 

 “I went shopping and I went too Pak N Save”, I went shopping and I went to Pak N Save and The Warehouse”, I went shopping and I went to Pak N Save, The Warehouse, Mitre 10”………this is a great game for memory and also for contact tracing!

As the parent/caregiver out shopping, remember to ask your child throughout the day, “How does this experience feel”?

Prepare them for all the posters around Covid 19 they will see, talking about social distancing, cleaning hands, sneezing into the elbow, contact tracing……

Once home,invite your child to create a story about their experience, draw a picture, create their own poster.

Talk to them about your feelings around the shopping experience.