Parents feel nervous as the pandemic adds new roles: teachers

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According to Denise Mann HealthDay Reporter

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 (HealthDay News)

New York City mom and writer Lis Stern spends most of her weekdays helping her three kids learn in remote areas, and things aren’t going well for any of them.

“There are a lot of moving parts and I feel like I’m always an octopus,” she said. “Are they learning enough? Are they challenged? Are they piled up? Are they watching TikTok on the phone under their desk when they should learn?”

Stern feels more anxious and stressed than ever, and she is not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has moved schools to distance learning, forcing many parents to become “surrogate educators” for their children without proper training.

In a new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 3,300 US households in March and April to see how distance learning affects parents’ mental health. Researchers found that over 50% of all parents had at least one child struggling with distance learning, resulting in more stress.

In addition, parents who have at least one student struggling have anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and activities they once enjoyed compared to parents who have no children struggling with distance learning. You are more likely to lose interest and joy in. Learning. This was true regardless of income, the number of children struggling, or the number of days since the school stopped face-to-face learning.

“Children of surrogate educators [parent] If you are experiencing distress, you are more likely to experience distress yourself, which can make it difficult for you to adapt to distance learning and worsen your existing learning disabilities, “the study author said. Joaquin Alfredo-Angel Le Barkaba says. He is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Public Policy at the university. North Carolina Chapel Hill.

It’s still unclear when children can safely return to school full-time, but parents and teachers can now do things to help families better adapt to distance learning, the study authors say. I did.

First, schools can build relationships with parents through ongoing check-in to discuss how children deal with distance learning and whether they need supplementary learning resources, Rubalcaba. Mr. says. “educator [should] We will keep in touch with our parents on a regular basis, empathize with the challenges facing each family and build trust with them as a genuine partner. “

Shyrelle Eubanks, senior policy analyst at the National Education Association in Washington, DC, says parents and students check in and troubleshoot before the problem grows, as many teachers offer virtual office hours. can do.

“If your child is having a hard time, if possible, use business hours to attend with the students or create a virtual one-on-one schedule with the teacher to help your child with their hardships and how to support them. We need to discuss about it, “says Eubanks. ..

She added that your school district may also have other resources available, such as resources aimed at improving the mental health of parents and children.

Parker Houston, a pediatric psychologist at Ohio’s National Children’s Hospital, agreed that his parents needed more help.

“Education is a full-time job, not a job that is squeezed when caring for work or home. If parents are acting as teachers on behalf of teachers, they are more than a way to log on. You need to know. Virtual learning. “

He added that children who were struggling before the pandemic were more likely to struggle unless they had parents at home who could devote themselves to school all day long.

Check with your school counselor to see what types of resources are available. “Children who don’t get much support at home because their parents work may qualify for a higher-touch education or tutoring system that the school may have,” Huston said. It was.

Eubanks pointed out that establishing and maintaining regular and consistent routines during these trials also helps parents cope and their children succeed.

“You can’t be loose goose in your routine,” she said. “Children should not go to online school in their pajamas, but should have regular bedtime and meal time routines, and designated spaces for learning, especially toddlers.”

According to Eubanks, children also need to go out and do physical activity every day. “Children should be encouraged to stay connected with friends, religious institutions, or other extracurricular activities as long as social distance is virtually impossible,” she advised.

The important thing is that if parents don’t take care of themselves, they can’t be there for their children in a meaningful way.

For Stern, such self-care includes a bath and a long walk to clean her head. She also recently started hosting a retreat for her mother. This allows mothers to get off the grid on weekends and recharge with other mothers.

Huston added that he sometimes needs expert help. “If you or your child has problems showing sleep, concentration, or other signs of severe stress, anxiety, or depression, it may be time to consult a mental health professional,” he said. Said.


The abbreviation ADHD refers to a commonly known condition:
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The report was published online in the journal on December 15th. Educational researcher..

For more information

The National Education Association provides resources for families and teachers to help keep children interested during distance learning.

Source: Joaquin Alfredo-Angel Rubalcaba, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Shyrelle Eubanks, EdD, Senior Policy Analyst, National Education Association, Washington, DC; Dr. Parker Houston, Pediatric Psychologist, National Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Lis Stern, Mom and Writer, New York City. Educational researcher, December 15, 2020, online

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