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Parenting During A State of Emergency

Photo Description: A family reading together. Pictured is a mother and her three young sons.

We are living in times that create uncertainty, nervousness, and new norms that we all have had to adjust to rather quickly. As parents, many of us are adapting to working remotely, layoffs, physical distancing from our loved ones, and the added duty of playing a more supportive role in our children's education with virtual and hybrid learning; all while trying to keep our families safe from contracting COVID-19.

During these times, we want to remind parents that perfection is not the goal, and that it's perfectly fine to give yourselves plenty of room for error and for life to happen, while adjusting to your new norms.

Back to School During COVID-19

Providing a space conducive to education at home can be a bit overwhelming for most

A young lady studying.

parents. Having schedules that conflict with the schedules of your children may make the 2020-2021 school year seem like a Herculean task. Education during the pandemic is a huge adjustment for families with children of all ages...including students in college.

We have a few pointers that may be helpful:

  1. Create a dedicated space for learning. If you have a space in your home, where you can set up a study area with a desk, and space for their educational materials - now is the time to set this area up. (This is a great summer project for your children to complete)! If a desk is unattainable for you at this time, check into lap desks; they're very affordable and efficiently serve the purpose of a desk. Whatever you choose to do, make sure your children are getting out of the bed/bedroom, and are prepared to dive into a new routine that will ensure their success this upcoming school year!

  2. School Supplies. At this point, many of you have had a preview of the school supply list for the upcoming school year. Learning virtually, you may see some of the usual suspects on the supply list: pencils, paper, highlighters, etc. However, if you haven't seen your published list, you can expect to see the following accompanying items: whiteboards (with dry erase markers and erasers), masks, pencil sharpeners, and a headset to name a few.

  3. If your school is a Google School, we suggest the following add-ons to maximize virtual instruction (check for compatibility with your school system:

    1. Snap & Read: This read aloud app will read documents and websites on Google Chrome and more!

    2. Auto Meeting Notes: The add-on automatically adds closed captioned transcription to Google Meets, and provides a printable transcript of entire Google Meet sessions! The add-on isn't perfect, and has the occasional error with printed words; however, knowing the context makes it easy to apply corrections. This is especially beneficial for those who prefer to read notes from a meeting - but may not be able to take notes in real-time, and for those who may not be able to hear the meeting.

    3. Nod: This add-on allows you to interact during a Google Meet, without disrupting the speaker. You can raise your hand, clap, and more!

When the Food Keeps Disappearing

Potted seedlings.

Listen. The Rona has left many of us eating more than the usual.

Keep a watch on your children's behaviors with food, as it could be indicative of their level of stress as they adapt to the new norms created by the pandemic. Here are a few tips to lessen the trips to the refrigerator and get back on track:

  • Be sure your family has enough fruit and fresh vegetables in your daily diet.

  • Create (and stick to) a menu. Allow your children to help with this.

  • Grow your food! No matter the amount of space you have at home, you can grow a few items in a pot. This is a rewarding project for children of all ages, and an affordable way to keep organic vegetables in your home. Most items you'd like in your salad, can be harvested in a potted garden. (See our previous articles for ideas and tips).

Where to go for RELIABLE Updates:

It's important to remember with everything going on, that COVID-19 is a health issue, and the best place to find resources is the Virginia Department of Health.

Making time for You Time:

We may be in the middle of a pandemic; however, that does not mean that you should miss out on time for you! If anything, this is the time to increase the amount of time you devote to self-care. Often times, it may seem like there's not enough time in the day to make necessary time for you. If you have to wake up a little earlier, or go to bed a little later, make sure you get your time in. Here are a few simple self-care ideas:

  • Take time to meditate on a daily basis.

  • Go on a nature walk.

  • Fitness is always a good self-care activity.

  • See if your therapist can meet with you virtually.

  • Keep a journal. Consider keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Read a good book!

  • Soak in the tub.

  • Make time to call a friend.

  • Indulge in aromatherapy!

Take everything day-by-day, and remember that erring is human and expected during a pandemic. You may get frustrated, and anxious, but make sure you take the time to woo-sah, get up, and try again. You're going to get through this!

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