How parents can manage back-to-school anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 5:32 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 00:30:17-04

Diny and Lindsey Hurwitz of Whitefish Bay are eight weeks away from welcoming another child into their family.

About a year ago, Lindsey lost her baby because of a random virus. She was six months along.

That's why she wants to homeschool her 4-year-old daughter, Lauren. She wants to do whatever she can to protect her family from COVID-19.

"Every time I feel a kick I'm like it's worth it," Lindsey said. "It's worth it to live underground, if you will, knowing that Lauren would get a chance to be a big sister."

"I don't want to go through that right now again until we are in the clear. I'm not going to send her if, on the weekends, everybody is running around going here and there," she continued.

But sheltering at home since the start of the pandemic and limiting contact with everyone hasn't been easy.

"We don't get babysitters. We don't go out. I'm exhausted," she said.

But leaving the learning up to parents comes with its stressors.

"I don't think that virtual is a very good idea," said Chris Sayrs. His daughter, Corie, is going to be a sophomore at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee.

"We're not teachers. We don't know what to do," he said.

He and his wife work full time. When Milwaukee Public Schools closed schools in Spring, it was a balancing act -- something he doesn't want to repeat.

"As a parent, the planning aspect has been very, very difficult," he said.

"I have no idea where my daughter will be taking class on December 1st. I have no idea. It might be here, might be half and half, might be at Rufus King, so how am I suppose to plan for that?" he continued.

Therapist Nicole Jackson believes parents need a solid support system right now. If they don't have one, she recommends finding a parenting support group online or calling a parenting hotline.

For those caregivers balancing work and teaching kids, Jackson says don't be afraid to have conversations with your employer or your school staff and see how they can help you ease the pressure.

For free confidential coaching for parents, you can call The Parent Helpline at 414-671-0566. Experienced parent coaches are available Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nicole Jackson has free clinic days twice a month on Saturdays. You can contact her at 414-604-6488.

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