As pandemic projections point to multiple waves, parents are awakened to the possibility that school might be held in the living room this year. A recent survey shows 42% of parents are concerned about the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their children's education. Its clear parents will need to be more directly involved and communicate with schools themselves, and with their children on a social-emotional level.
Parents are going to need to be more aware of their children's social and emotional needs. As school is most kids' primary source of socialization, younger children, and especially teenagers, will have a difficult time adjusting to such a drastic change in daily routine. Parents should make themselves available to listen to their children's fears and clear up misinformation. Other helpful tips:
- Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Answer questions in a way that is honest, accurate, and age/cognitively-appropriate.
- Please encourage your children to talk about their emotions.
It may be stressful to take on the role of mentor, teacher, and health professional for the children in your life. Know you are not alone. Parents should feel encouraged to collaborate with educators by:
- brainstorming ways to make remote learning work best
- sharing feedback about the school's activities
- asking teachers for help when necessary
Organizing with schools, charities, and other parents can give a much-needed sense of purpose and community to everyone, including children. Indeed, helping others has been proven to provide a sense of control and reduce stress by highlighting positive impact.*
*The Education Department estimates that anywhere from 9.4 to 12 Million students don't have home internet access or devices. Currently, Californians can email firstname.lastname@example.org if they can donate laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, or funds to purchase tools for students in California; connect with your schools and local government to get information on initiatives in other states.