The current situation has been tough on many parents. School closures, working from home, and enforced social distancing can be a challenge for anyone to navigate, especially if you happen to be a parent. Thus with our busy lifestyles, modern parents need to be more resourceful and efficient.
The impact to our lives
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on us, especially our reliance on the internet and our digital habits. Due to the nature of the hybrid work-home environment, more Malaysian parents are online than ever.
This has contributed to digital media becoming a part of every parents’ toolkit, leading to what we call “the new normal”. Many parents regard the internet as the ‘go-to’ resource for research on parenting information and also the destination of choice when shopping online for child-related or other household products.
Plan ahead to juggle parenthood duties efficiently
Our time is limited, especially during the pandemic. To make the most of it, planning ahead is absolutely crucial because it helps you better optimise your time for daily/weekly household chores and any family activities. A simple example is to plan your menu for the week (which is a big help if you’re cooking). It saves you time and money when grocery shopping (i.e. you only buy what’s needed instead of buying on impulse) and you also won’t waste time wondering what to cook every day. Various apps like OurHome, Whisk and HappyFresh are available nowadays to help you plan menu and chores, look for recipes and help with grocery shopping.
Another modern tool is to use time-saving devices such as modern and reliable home/kitchen appliances for cooking and cleaning. Nowadays, there are many such devices that boast a variety of features which are useful for busy parents. Many of these home/kitchen appliances can be expensive, so you definitely want something that’s worth your investment. Thus, browse the internet to compare information with others and look for useful reviews.
The internet is also the main resource for modern parents to look for various parenting information, e.g. child health and development, nutrition, family planning, etc. It can be difficult to know who to trust when looking at information online, hence this is where a little “smart parenting” comes into play.
Working parents need to be more digitally savvy in recognising credible websites and this would be a big help for the modern “smart” parent as it will help you achieve a better balance between work and family, especially in adapting to the post-pandemic changes to our lifestyle.
With the wealth of online parenting resources available, the trick is finding reliable ones. Here are some useful tips:
- Internet domain: Common ones include .com, .org, and .net which can be bought and used by individuals. However, the .edu domain is reserved for schools, colleges and universities, while .gov denotes that it is a government website. Thus, .edu and .gov domains are much more credible sources for information. The .org is normally used by non-profit organisations, but it’s good to be discerning when using these websites.
- Author’s details: Credible sources of information usually include the author’s name. Sometimes, the author’s designation or their contact information are also included, and this is a good sign that the information provided is reliable.
- Relevant dates: Credible information should include relevant dates, especially if it quotes research information or when the information was found on the Internet. This is helpful to see whether the information is recent enough for your consideration.
- Source of information listed: Any credible websites should cite the source of the information they have presented, and preferably include links as well (just like how books or scholarly articles include a list of references).
- Website ‘quality’: The website’s style and grammar can give you a clue to its credibility. A poorly designed website that features grammatical errors and/or typos is indicative that it may not be credible.
- Online safety: Practise online safety whenever you’re using the internet or letting your child use the internet. You can watch educational online programmes together with them, learn child-friendly home activities online or play simple online games with them as a way to spend time together. What’s important is the family time spent together while keep them safe from online threats.
A smarter parent is a more productive parent
It is a constant challenge to juggle both family and work, so parents should definitely learn how to manage time efficiently. This will leave you with more time for your family, and you will find more productive days ahead as you will be able to achieve more goals.
Being more efficient and productive can go a long way toward that perfect family you aspire to have, while still maintaining remote working productivity, and at the same time, keeping our families safe and healthy. However, let’s also not forget that there’s a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, i.e. an opportunity to engage more closely with our families and manage our time better.
An educational contribution by Malaysian Paediatric Association.