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Dear Therapist,

I see a lot of my friends on social media talking about how they are keeping their kids home no matter what. The overall message I get from their posts is that putting your kid in school (once school allows in-person education) is bad parenting.

My husband and I both work full time and we aren’t sure what to do with our children once school starts. I know my kids would do better in school, but worry about them getting sick or spreading COVID-19.

I don’t want to make the wrong decision. There is no good answer and it is keeping me up at night with worry.

Thanks,

Anne

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Hi Anne,

First of all,  let the “bad parent” thought go out the window it came from. There is a lot to think through these days. Some people think through things to obsession, which is not too healthy either. What is the balance for you?

Talk with your children on their thoughts on staying healthy. Help them understand that we can help ourselves by washing hands, not touching the face, keeping curious hands to themselves when in public. Eyes can see and a mouth can ask questions without hands touching items to learn about what we see.

child using hand sanitizerThis can be a real patience building time for kids…and parents.

Talking to kids prior to going out, preparing them to ask questions about what is seen…not touching items. It’s all in the prep work; talking with kids before any outing helps. Asking them how they can keep clean.

Kids really don’t understand the germ idea. So they see an item or put their hands on a public area and don’t think of it as adults understand. They just want to touch something to learn about it or help them balance on something (restroom rails, toilet paper holders, etc.)

So having a dialogue about cleanliness (and a continuing dialogue) will help them get the message. Kids that are tactile really need to be encouraged to learn by touching it with their vision.

About school.  Right now, even schools don’t know what to do.

At this time, my client parents are so upset that they really don’t know what to do. One family has their child in year-round school. Only eight kids to a room and all wear masks. The kid is okay with it, but really misses talking in class with his buddies. Now, they are too far apart to get into trouble. NO recess. But he gets home early.

Another family will have their kids homeschooled using the same curriculum as their church school they attended last year.  They have an option to come back to the school when they are ready.

Right now,  the teachers I counsel from the different districts all say the districts are really not sure what will happen.

We are in a new era that has not been lived through before in history.

social media displayed on a phone

There are too many variables we have to contend with at this time.

Bottom line is don’t beat yourself up.

Don’t let social media beat you up. Your social media friends don’t walk in your shoes and don’t parent your child, pay your bills or manage your schedule.

I encourage less time on social media and more time talking to children about what is happening in their world.

Be safe.

Sincerely,

Roberta, LPC-S

Roberta, LPC-S, has been a counselor at Jewish Family Service of San Antonio for more than 17 years. She works with people who are looking for ways to lower depression, anxiety or anxious thoughts. She have experience working with people who have spectrum disorders, and help their family understand disorder issues with the goal of creating an understanding and compassionate bond in the family system. Physical movement, deep breathing exercises and music creativity are some of the many options Roberta offers clients to fill their helping and coping skills tool box.

 

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