Resources for parents and carers

For parents and carers this period has presented some unique challenges both to how we care for the important others in our lives as well as how we care for ourselves. Thankfully, we are none of us alone with this and there is a great wealth of support and information for parents and carers. Sometimes perhaps too much! In this section we will seek to provide an overview of the advice on the following topics and links to reliable further resources for you to access as needed.

  • balancing caring, working and self-care
  • ANU Parents and Carers Wattle Site
  • tips from parents in our community
  • tips for talking to children about current events
  • webinar - Dr Liana Leach and working from home with caring responsibilities
     

Balancing caring, working and self-care

It is the eternal struggle as a working parent or carer, finding the balance. During this time, while we are working or studying from home, that balance and the ability to distinguish between our work, caring and other roles in life may be even harder. For others, this time may make our caring role much easier and you may find that your time is less pressured and be wondering about the transition back to on-campus life. Everyone's situation will be different but there are a few consistent themes for those juggling these multiple roles during this time:

  • Be realistic. There are only so many hours in the day and with additional responsibilities or activities, something must give. Be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot achieve in a day. If you are staff, have an upfront discussion with your manager about how you manage your work tasks during this time. This may include altered start and finish times, reduced daily hours in line with the advice from the VC or taking some periods of leave. If you are a research student (HDR), have an upfront discussion with your Supervisor or HDR Convenor about how you manage your research project, including timeframes and adjustments, considering change of intensity to part time status, or taking leave of absence.
  • Be kind. Everyone is doing their best. As are you. We are not superhuman and we cannot operate 24/7 without rest and recreation so be kind to yourself and your own needs.
  • Be strategic. Daily schedules and timetables may not have been a useful thing for your situation in the past but consider if they might be a helpful tool now for you and the person or people you care for. Communicate regularly and clearly with your household, your lecturers and / or your workplace to ensure that you can meet your own goals during this time and position yourself for success as it comes to its conclusion.
     

ANU Parents and Carers Wattle Site

To help support our community during this time, the Parents and Carers with kids at home Wattle site has fantastic resources to connect Parents and Carers (via a discussion forum) and to provide a platform to share ideas about how to keep kids educated and occupied as you work, study or research from home.

The site will continue to have new content, with current sections including:

  • Tips for talking with your children
  • ACT Government and Library Service
  • Educational Sites for Maths, Science and Art
  • Sites for Stories, Music, Exercise and Relaxation

You can join the 'At home with Kids' Wattle site via the following link - https://wattlecourses.anu.edu.au/course/view.php?id=30981.

If you have any questions or suggestions please contact communitywellbeing@anu.edu.au  
 

Tips from parents and carers in our community

The Community Wellbeing team has worked with parents and carers in our community to help share their experiences of managing work and caring responsibilities during this time. The videos are between 7-11m long and share stories of how each person and family has approached an issue. Eight videos have been recorded to date with three ANU Staff, all of who donated their time to share their experiences with the intent to support other parents and carers in our community. The videos include:

To compliment the videos, tips and suggestions have been collated from various sources and members of the ANU community on the following topics:  

If you have any feedback on the videos, or would like to suggest a topic for other videos, please email communitywellbeing@anu.edu.au.
 

Tips for talking to children about current events

There are number of resources around talking to children about COVID-19, a few of which are listed here for you to have a look at:

  • First of all, you know your children better than anyone else so have confidence in your own relationship with them to know how much, and when to give them information.
  • Children of different ages will respond differently so make sure you are providing information that is appropriate and useful for their age and situation.
  • Focus on the positives and on action that they can take for example instead of "the government says we have to wash our hands so that we don't get sick" you could say " we're going to wash our hands carefully to help everyone to stay well"
  • Be honest, but as for ourselves, be aware of the risk of overloading children with information. Consider what information they need to have and try to protect them from excessive or overly negative news or messages about the virus and the global situation.
     

Webinar - Dr Liana Leach and working from home with caring responsibilities

An event with Dr Liana Leach was held on Wednesday 20 May about 'Working from Home with Caring Responsibilities'. Dr Leach shared insights from her research on family and work and answered questions from Parents and Carers. You can watch the recording here.

Dr Leach is a research fellow in the Society, Culture and Health research stream at The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH). Her research interests include examining the impact of family and work circumstances on mental health. Her work involves the translation of mental health research for public policy and practice.