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Expert advice, tips for parents who may feel overwhelmed with work, kids returning to school

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have an impact on the workforce and schools, parents have one more job to add to their daily routine.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Thousands of kids are back at school virtually, and while it has proved to be a challenge for teachers and students, it has also put a mental strain on parents.

"I'm very concerned about families, parents, children being able to manage all of the new responsibilities that virtual learning and staying home kind of imposes," said Jinnelle Powell, a licensed counselor.

Powell said it's been a challenging time for parents amid the coronavirus pandemic and online learning.

"More expenses, because you're using your light bill more, you're using more internet, you know you're spending more money on food so just on a basic level the cost associated with it and then the emotional and mental demand in addition to if you're working," said Powell.

Parents have had to add one more job to their daily routine, which can be taxing for their minds.

"They're struggling with isolation, the pressures associated with their jobs, parenting, with the lifestyle changes that they've had to experience in the past few months," said Powell.

"It's hard enough being a parent, but when you add being a parent of kids doing virtual learning plus working, that frustration and that stress that the parents are feeling, is absolutely 100-percent flooding down to the kids," said Kelly McKeen, a local mom and teacher. "My son is in second grade, he had four zoom meetings in one day, the next day he had five zoom meetings."

McKeen said she's received countless emails from parents who had technical issues and limited resources when trying to supply for more than one kid; some parents even said they're considering a home school curriculum instead.

"You, as a parent, if you're noticing that you're more on edge, you're more irritable, you haven't been able to be patient with your children or calm with them, you should reach out and ask for some assistance," said Powell.

There are a few tips Powell had for parents to keep in mind:

  • Take deep breaths throughout the day. While mind exercises may seem small, they're beneficial for the brain and body.
  • Take quick breaks when necessary. Powell emphasized that sometimes parents and children need recess breaks, even if they are learning from home.
  • It's important for parents to reach out when they need help, whether to their kid's teacher or to a mental health professional.

You can find guidance for navigating the online tool Canvas here.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.
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