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Caring For and Educating Kids in a COVID-19 World

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Our world has changed in so many ways these past several months, forcing so many families to have to make some very difficult decisions. How to work full time while caring for and educating children from home

has become a source of unbelievable stress for so many. So what are parents to do?

Weigh your options and understand, what we seek may not be readily available and we may need to shift gears to a more non-traditional way of thinking. As our Chief Service Officer, Gayle Messmann, so aptly put it recently, “Every place is a childcare desert in a world of COVID.”

So where do you start?

When the traditional resources fail, it’s time to think non-traditional.

Search your own network of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

This may seem obvious, but we often overlook what is right in front of us, so give a second glance at those around you to see who might be an option for even a few hours here and there—you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Finding your local neighborhood group through social media can be a great way to connect with parents in similar situations.

Check with your employer to ask about flexible scheduling.

Is it possible to work remotely, so you can be home to supervise your kids? Can you shift your hours to work around your kids’ virtual learning schedules? Is job-sharing a possibility for a few months? Many employers are recognizing the need for this type of flexibility within their workforce. For those who aren’t able to work from home, or don’t have the ability to flex their schedules, check with your company’s HR department to see if there are benefits in place that might help you with finding back-up care.

Look into community resources to see if there are childcare/learning support options in your area.

Many churches are offering small group childcare or may have volunteers who are willing to help. Check with your kids’ schools, too. There may be opportunities to connect with out of work para-professionals (commonly known as teacher’s aids) who are looking to earn some extra income until schools open back up.

Some local activity centers are changing their structure and programming to accommodate virtual learners with working parents. They are incorporating a mix of activity-based programming with supervised lesson-time to meet the changing needs of kids and parents.

Finding your local neighborhood group through social media can be a great way to connect with parents in similar situations.

Many neighborhoods are creating “pods”, groups with similar aged kids and parents with similar working situations, who can share resources and supervision duties. Finding your local neighborhood group through social media can be a great way to connect with parents in similar situations.

Last but certainly not least, give yourself a break!

It’s okay to feel frustrated, angry, tired, exasperated, and completely inadequate as an educator. That doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you human. If you need a mental break, by all means, take one. This may involve nothing more than a visit to that dark closet for a few deep breaths, or having a cup of coffee in a quiet space. Whatever you need to recharge and regroup—consider it part of your daily routine.

At the end of the day, no matter what, try to always remember…this will end and we will get through it!

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