education

Parents, Give Yourselves a Break: Handling Back to School During a Pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Most North Texas school districts are back to learning in some capacity, whether it's online or in person.

The start of the school year has been an uphill battle for so many, not for a lack of effort, but just because so many things are changing that parents and students are just not used to.

Dr. Kelly Fradin is a mother, pediatrician and author who recently wrote, “Parenting in a Pandemic: How to Help Your Family Through COVID-19”. As a doctor, she said this is far more than battling an invisible adversary, but also the mental toll this is taking on everyone.

Dr. Kelly Fradin

Fradin said its time for parents to start thinking about themselves.

“It’s like getting on an airplane. They tell you to put on your oxygen mask before you can help anyone else, in case of emergency. This is all like that too. You have to be stable yourself because your children will feed off of you,” Fradin said.

She said as easy as this sounds, it’s also important for parents to stay positive. A parent’s mindset rubs off on their children.

"I think there are ways we can make it better starting with facts over fear and letting evidence guide our decision making,” Fradin said. “We are role models for our children and if we don’t sleep and eat regular meals or exercise, we are not going to be our best selves and as parents... our children will feel the effects of that."

Also, stop feeling guilty. Most parents are doing the best they can with a very difficult situation.

“This is not what we chose for our children or for ourselves. I think that it’s important for parents to understand that what you are doing is enough. Kids learn so much from everyday experiences like family meals or playing board games or running around outside and it’s important that even if your home isn’t Pinterest perfect and doesn’t look like a home school environment your children can still thrive and learn there,” she said.

Above all else, make sure you have realistic expectations for you and your family.

"It’s not realistic to think that you can do everything and help everybody but if you can take a few moments to pick the things that are most important for your family, whether its mastering reading this year, or learning to ride a bike. By focusing those energies on the few things that matter to you. You can have more of a sense of control over the choices,” Fradin said.

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