Over the past 13 months, there’s been seemingly no end to the challenges facing Granite Staters — and others — relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
First among those challenges, of course, has been staying safe and healthy. The readily transmissible nature of the virus, combined with its myriad effects, including death to some who contract it, has forced most of us to make significant changes in how we interact, disrupted plans and removed some common resources, among other effects.
That’s hard on all of us, but perhaps few so much as parents. Not only do they have to worry about themselves, but also their children: who they are in contact with; how they will be educated; who will watch them when normal childcare venues are restricted; how you teach very young children some of the lessons we’ve all had to learn about living in a pandemic — don’t touch your face, wear a mask, wash your hands.
Parenting is always difficult. Amid a pandemic … let’s just say parents need all the help they can get.
That was the thinking behind The Sentinel’s Pandemic Parenting series, a solutions journalism project supported by a competitive grant from the Solutions Journalism Network: to figure out some of the parent-specific challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and try to offer some solutions, or at least, guidance. Over the past five months, these stories have explored how pre-existing problems in child care access and affordability have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak, and how groups throughout the Monadnock Region are working together to present potential solutions to these challenges. The series can be found at sentinelsource.com/pandemic_parenting.
But the challenges of pandemic parenting are many. So we’ve partnered with the Monadnock United Way’s Impact Monadnock Business Ambassadors and Impact Monadnock to offer another resource to help with challenges going forward — a three-week series of free, hour-long community listening sessions covering topics that many parents may still encounter. All three will feature a Sentinel journalist, joined by experts in the fields of mental health, child education and general well-being.
The first will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. It will be followed by sessions at the same time on the next two Thursdays.
Thursday’s topic is “Survival: Heal thyself.” When you take a flight, the attendant instructs you that in an emergency, you should put your mask on first, and then help your child. Likewise, it’s important that parents and caregivers take care of themselves first if they are to endure the pandemic with their families. To reserve a place in this event, presented by Bethann Clauss of Maps Counseling Services, visit https://ticketelf.com/events/pandemic-parenting-community-solutions-4-15-2021.
On April 22, also at 6:30 p.m., the topic will be “When homeroom is the home: What’s been lost during remote learning and how to tell.” It’s one of the most difficult questions to answer for parents: Has this been a lost school year for my child? How can I tell? What should I do if my child is behind? Register at https://ticketelf.com/events/pandemic-parenting-community-solutions-4-22-2021. The presenter for this event will be announced soon.
And on April 29, the discussion will cover “The summer of our discontent: What’s ahead for busy parents?” With summer camps filled, and, in some cases, at reduced capacity, what’s the solution for households that need ways to keep their children active and engaged? Can workplaces help? What about parent groups? To register for this event, presented by Rebecca Lancaster of Stonewall Farm, visit https://ticketelf.com/events/pandemic-parenting-community-solutions-4-29-2021.
Parenting is hard. Pandemic Parenting is harder still. So if you could use some advice and/or resources, please join in.