How to support working parents during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in profound and unprecedented ways. Most if not all of us are worried about someone we love—whether it’s a relative, a friend, or our community as a whole.
In the face of this crisis, it’s important to remember that even the smallest acts of care can make a difference. We’ve compiled the tips and resources below to help you find simple, concrete ways to take action.
With families self-isolating, many adults working from home, and limited childcare options, the pandemic has been particularly disruptive for working parents of young children. Caring for a friend’s kids in person may not be an option right now — but there are other things you can do to help.
Start by offering to occupy kids virtually so parents can take care of other responsibilities. Schedule a phone or video call to read stories or play games with younger kids, or to help older kids with schoolwork. You can also curate and share homeschooling resources from sources like Khan Academy’s suggested homeschooling schedules, Common Sense Media’s curated games and videos for families, and PBS Kids for Parents. Send links to specific activities, or better yet, guide kids through the content yourself over video or phone.
Finally, remember to express support for the full range of choices parents might make about what’s best for their families right now. Some parents will opt out of homeschooling, relax screen time restrictions, or make other adjustments to expectations and routines. You can help just by letting them know you respect those decisions.
Here are some additional resources to help you support working parents of school-aged kids:
- How Working Parents Can Prepare for Coronavirus Closures (Harvard Business Review): Tips for parents on setting expectations with managers, kids, and parenting partner(s).
- How Can Khan Academy Be Used for Remote Learning During School Closures? (Khan Academy): Homeschooling schedules, activities, and resources for kids aged four to eighteen.
- Resources for Families During the Coronavirus Pandemic (Common Sense Media): Video lessons and resource recommendations for keeping kids engaged at home.
- TEDEd Lessons (TEDEd): Rich collection of video lessons for elementary through high school students.
- Help Your Child Learn and Grow (PBS Kids for Parents): Tips and activities for teaching literacy, math, science, art, and life skills to younger kids (ages two to eight).
- I Homeschool My Kids. Here Are 6 Ideas for Parents While Schools Are Closed. (WBUR): Advice for homeschooling during this chaotic time, including prioritizing family activities and unstructured play.
- I Refuse to Run a Coronavirus Home School (New York Times): One parent’s perspective on why homeschooling might not be what’s best for some families right now.