The Pandemic P.A.R.E.N.T. – Virtual School Edition

Parenting school-aged children, circa 2020, has required parents to juggle (in new ways) their profession with their parenting responsibilities, and to strike the right balance between their kids’ happiness and their health.  Now that virtual school has started across metro Atlanta, pandemic parents are encountering additional and entirely new challenges. In many ways, parenting during virtual school may feel like being lost at sea, with no Coast Guard in sight.

Here are a few try at home strategies that may help pandemic parents navigate the unchartered waters we are all in together.

Practice Patience

Mistakes and learning curves are at an all-time high. Support both your students and their teachers with an endless amount of patience. Give even more to yourself and you will ultimately have more to give everyone else and most importantly, your children.

Adapt Now

Tiambi Walker, Interim Principal of The Kindezi School at Gideons reminded families and students at their virtual open house, “We can’t wait for things to go back to normal, we have to adjust to new norms today.”

Redefine Workspace

Create a separate workspace for yourself, and if you have multiple children keep each child distant from each sibling to minimize their own distraction to one another.  Make sure the space is well lit, comfortable and in the same location every day. Accommodate the inevitable wiggles throughout the day. If distance cannot be maintained, consider headphones.  Sitting on the floor, and opportunities for movement during the day is crucial.

Embrace Tech Support

Let’s face it, we are now all in IT.  Google the phrase computer specs and identify your RAM and connection speed. Does my computer have enough space to connect to virtual video? Is this audio going to have choppy sound? Test your audio and video prior to meetings and class. Check your computer speed at www.speedtest.net.

Network with your Community

Traditional homeschool parents rely heavily upon their collective community.  Consider hosting a virtual parent cafe, where parents can talk casually, provide support and come up with supportive collective ideas for their classrooms and school.  Susan Wise Bauer, author and homeschooling expert, emphasizes power of the collective strength and supplementing your children’s education. Visit: The Well-Trained Mind for additional information

Try a Little Tenderness

When the practice patience strategy isn’t working out, try a little tenderness.  Forgive yourself for losing it that one day and embrace your kids during their inevitable tantrums. And remember, we are all facing new challenges presented by virtual learning together.  Give yourself, your children and your schools a clean slate each weekend so you can start fresh on Mondays.

CHRIS 180’s School-Based Mental Health program works with more than 70 schools across Metro Atlanta. To learn more about our programming, visit CHRIS180.org/schoolbasedservices.

Conni Pritchett, LAPC
cpritchett@CHRIS180.org
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