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Parenting school-aged children during COVID-19

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As COVID-19 spread and schools closed their doors, parents of school-aged children had to adjust quickly. For many, the idea of trying to work full-time, remain a dutiful employee, and also now educate their children was overwhelming.

Many of these feelings have only increased as quarantine has continued. With masks still in place and vaccines slowly rolling out, this feeling of being overwhelmed may have turned into tiredness or anxiety. These feelings are only amplified by the return of in-person learning.

Parents may be anxious to send their children off to school because there are still many unknowns about how COVID-19 affects people, especially children. There is a chance that a family will expose their child to another whose family has not taken the same precautions against spreading the virus.

Centerstone wants to help parents navigate these unsure times. Below are tips to ease worries for parents who may feel strained by it all, as well as tips for decreasing nervousness toward sending kids to school.

Tips for parents who feel strained:

  1. Know that your feelings are valid: No one is a superhero, nor should they be expected to be one. “Any parent who says they never get ‘tired’ in relation to their kids is lying to you,” says Niki Grajewski, a Family Services Clinic Manager for Centerstone. “The act of keeping up a household, providing for your children and then also yourself takes time and energy each day. To acknowledge feeling tired is valuable in that it allows us to feel what we feel, and can also create an avenue for relating to other parents that might feel the same way.” Giving yourself grace is also vitally important.
  2. Take some alone time: Giving yourself alone time, even for just 15 minutes, can be helpful. Try to keep negative thoughts and worries about these things out of your head. This gives you time to relax and de-stress, better preparing you to care for your family. Whether you’re parenting on your own or with a partner, there is no doubt that you have worked hard to balance life in this new time, and you deserve a break.
  3. Don’t do it alone: The act of reaching out for help is on its own therapeutic. Try reaching out to a family member or friend who can provide encouragement. Having a community to support and help you when you need it will make you feel less overwhelmed and more confident in your ability to take care of your family.

Tips for parents who feel nervous about sending their children to school:

  1. Be informed: It is necessary for parents to be fully informed about their school’s plan for continuing education. The more you know, the less anxious you will feel. If there is an option between returning to in-person classes or to learn from home, reach out to fellow parents, teachers, and administrators to discuss what’s best for your own family.
  2. Know that there is no right answer: There is no right answer when deciding between in-person and at-home learning. Decide how comfortable you feel with your school’s plan to return – how soon they are resuming in-person learning, what safety measures they are putting into place, etc. – and determine what is best for your family. Don’t simply leave it to the adults either: listen to your kids’ thoughts and feelings about their preferred learning experience and, if appropriate, invite them into the decision-making.
  3. Have a strong support system: It is important to have people around you that will support you no matter what decision you make. Welcome helpful advice while filtering out unnecessary negativity. Due to the uncertainty of the virus, your family’s decision may change, so having consistent support will give you a sense of stability.

Through this crisis, Centerstone remains fully operational and continuing to serve our clients and communities. As always, the health and well-being of our clients, staff, and community stakeholders is our main priority. We have implemented system-wide strategies that reduce the risk of exposure while preparing us to respond effectively in the event the current threat level escalates. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure at this time, almost all appointments are being conducted via telephone or telehealth (video).

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