Dr. Jennifer Hartstein was featured in the article below as Yahoo Life Mental Health contributor and practicing psychologist.
Every September, parents rely on their kids’ school routines, clinging to the comfort that they are, for the most part, safe, comfortable and unchanging — a far cry from the back-to-school experience parents are facing right now amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
While school reopening plans vary across the country, schools in several states — including Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia and Tennessee — have already had to change course after in-person learning resulted with students and school staff testing positive for the coronavirus.
With life as we know it constantly in flux, Yahoo Life Mental Health Contributor, Dr. Jen Hartstein, shares tips on how parents can cope with the anxiety-producing unknowns that come with 2020’s back-to-school season.
Make a plan — to the extent that it’s possible
Hartstein suggests creating solutions for hypothetical changes that could arise during the school year.
“The best way to deal with feeling overwhelmed is to come up with as good a plan as possible,” Hartstein explains. “There’s no way to make it perfect because the markers keep changing, but can you start to plan for what’s going to happen if kids are only in school two days a week? Who can you lean on?”
While there’s no ‘one size fits all’ backup plan, Hartstein suggests making arrangements ahead of time that could be put into place if needed. “Maybe there’s ways to socially distance a small group class in your own house so you can work together,” she explains. “Maybe one parent monitors on a Monday, one parent monitors on a Wednesday, so that work can still be done.”
Hartstein also advises parents to insert themselves into the conversation, and be a part of school meetings so that they can have their concerns heard, which can help be as prepared as possible.