Ask any parent what their biggest concern in the fall of 2020. The response will likely revolve around the uncertainty regarding the new school year. There are the usual concerns about adjusting to the new year with new teachers, getting back on a school day schedule, and providing the love and support that the children need under normal circumstances.
But the fall of 2020 is far from ordinary. COVID-19 has changed just about every part of families’ lives, including school. Denver public schools will start with remote learning at least until October 16, with other school districts and schools coming up with plans that best serve their students, families, teachers, and staff. This could be remote, in person or a blend of the two. Even the most thorough plans will likely change as the situation evolves.
Creating a positive environment amid uncertainty
Parents cannot control the course of the virus or decisions made by school officials and the governor. However, they can have a plan for how their families deal with uncertainty. Here are nine actionable tips that may be helpful for both parents and the kids:
- Identify feelings and say them out loud in front of the kids.
- All concerns are valid, but it is usually best to focus on things within the parent’s control.
- Accept that there will be uncertainty and that this school year will (hopefully) be like no other.
- Plan for uncertainty and have a few backup plans, even if they are not ideal.
- Work to maintain a strong support community among fellow parents to help determine specific strategies in dealing with the kids’ classes and schools (other parents will also be useful for commiserating over frustrations and celebrating successes).
- Parents cannot control how other families act, including social distancing, screen time, or masks.
- Try to keep a consistent schedule at home to provide stability.
- Help others when possible.
- Practice self-care.
These are unprecedented times
These unprecedented times can put an unbearable amount of stress on parents’ marriage or the relationship of coparents after a divorce. Those who struggle to the point where it is unhealthy may need to get help from a trained therapist to get help and strategies that address issues within the parents’ and families’ lives. If they find that the divorce agreement or parenting plan is not working, the couple can work with a family law attorney to modify the arrangements.