Winter can feel like an eternity for parents grappling with school closures and virtual learning for their kids.
Toronto-based parenting expert Alyson Schafer recently joined The Morning Show to discuss tips on how parents can get through this winter with kids at home.
For starters, parents need to stop feeling guilty.
“One of the biggest sources of guilt for parents right now is that they somehow feel they are failing their kids in supporting their education because online schooling is just such a different animal,” Schafer said.
Schafer recommends setting aside some time to talk privately with your kids’ teachers.
Discussing what’s happening in your home — since the struggle is real — and asking what your kids should be focusing on can help you prioritize what needs to be submitted.
“It may not be every single assignment,” Schafer said, adding that maybe your child just needs to focus on reading comprehension or their multiplication tables.
This way, she adds, teachers can have a better grasp of metrics and whether a student is moving along.
Schafer also recommends connecting with other parents in the community.
“We have more support when we can share our stories to not feel so alone and like we’re going crazy,” Schafer said.
One way to do this is to find an online community through Facebook groups, school groups, or community hubs you may have been a part of prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Maybe it’s your hockey team, maybe it’s the dance team that can’t get together,” Schafer said.
“Talk amongst those other parents so you get a feeling of both support, but also just those general life hacks of how they’re getting through.”
Lastly, Schafer says parents should look ahead by creating a winter countdown, or something to help you visualize an end in sight.
While marking down the days, Shafer recommends thinking of three to five things you are grateful for.
“And I know that might sound cheesy but you cannot refute science,” Schafer said.
“Science says that if we write down three to five gratitudes a day, there’s an improvement in our sense of wellbeing in as short as a week to 10 days.”
These gratitudes, Schafer adds, can be as small as enjoying your hot cup of coffee.
To learn more about getting through virtual learning this winter, watch Shafer’s full interview with The Morning Show in the video above.