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Parenting and working from home during coronavirus

For parents who find themselves trying to not just parent at home but work from home during coronavirus, things can be tough, and now there’s a new Facebook broadcast called “Parenting Through COVID-19.” It’s hosted by licensed psychologist Elizabeth Dexter-Mazza and her husband Jim Mazza, a licensed psychologist and professor at the University of Washington.

What are they hearing about the types of challenges that parents are facing in this coronavirus environment?

“They’re trying to maintain some semblance of their occupational efficiencies, which is hard to do in the face of also becoming elementary, middle school or high school teachers, while also becoming the lunch provider, the custodial persons and so forth,” Jim said.

“So I think that the parents are running out of time in their days to be efficient at any of those things. And then the kids aren’t used to having their parents in a teaching role. So they want to do fun things with their parents … the parent’s role changes and they’re becoming now educators and disciplinarians, and that’s hard for the kids to understand.”

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So what should parents’ expectations be? Let’s take the case of a couple. Both have jobs, they’re trying to work from home, and have three kids. Can you expect that the kids will at some point be able to guide themselves so that you can go off and work by yourselves? Or do they need your constant supervision?

“We have a seventh grader, a sixth grader, and a second grader. They need almost constant supervision, not 100 percent of the time, but they do need us monitoring,” said Elizabeth. “Often I’m trying to work while listening to make sure that they’re not randomly playing a video game.”

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“I don’t know if it will get to a point where they can all guide themselves. I don’t think they do that in school, so I can’t expect them to do that at home.”

One of the undercurrents here is parents being concerned that their kids are going to lose basically half a year of school, which they’re never going to get back. How do you deal with that?

“I think that’s a reality,” Elizabeth said. “So do our kids have to be on top of every single assignment with the same grades and expectations they had when it was school as usual? This has been a shifting reality, especially now that we know in Washington we’re not going back this year.”

“I don’t want our family to just survive this time. I want us to figure out how we’re going to thrive and grow and get opportunities to do things that we normally can’t do because of the school schedule.”

Find “Parenting Through COVID-19” here. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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