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First, connect emotionally

Updated: Mar 22, 2020

What a week. We have been bombarded daily with the most frightening news that I can remember in my lifetime. Our state has closed schools, restaurants, playgrounds, and non-essential businesses. We are being asked to hunker down with no answer to its duration. Teachers have been asked to design online curricula overnight and are mourning being separated from their students. Many of our elderly have been separated from their families and are faced with even more loneliness and fear. All of it is overwhelming.

Parents of young children are telling me they feel overwhelmed about having to suddenly become their child’s teacher. I’ve seen similar messages posted on social media. In the past week many parents find themselves scurrying to figure out how to take on this task.

My first message to parents is be kind to yourselves. Give yourselves permission to start this journey by connecting emotionally with your children. Children can read your emotions. Stay calm and connect with them.

Also, the more you can empower your children, the better. Solicit their input as to where they prefer to do their schoolwork. Together, you can set up a space where they can learn.

Then set up a schedule and discuss it together. Many of you will be working from home, so your children need to have a clear understanding of your expectations of them. Creating a schedule together can help avert issues. Empowering them is key.

I will add more thoughts about parenting in this time of crisis as we join together in our fight against this virus. Take one day at a time and remember to be kind to yourselves too.

Despite all the worry around us, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. One of my neighbors put up Christmas lights this week. When I asked him why, he said, “It’s for the children. Maybe it will give them something to make them happy.”

Let’s stay connected and continue to support one another in whatever ways we can.

Mary Lou

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