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Mental health tips for parents as the new school year begins

Posted at 8:37 AM, Aug 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 11:37:47-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — There’s been a lot of talk surrounding students as they begin the new school year during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can’t forget about the parents.

23ABC's Kallyn Hobmann spoke with a local therapist about some ways parents can take care of themselves while guiding their children through virtual learning.

“When we have this change of routine, there’s just heightened emotions," said Associate Therapist Taylor Heavey,

Heavey said creating a separate space at home for work can give parents a sense of normalcy.

“It’s all getting blended together. Work and home and kids and then relaxation, and all of a sudden we’re supposed to just turn that off at the end of the day. I think it’s helpful if those spaces are a little bit separate," she said.

Heavey recommended checking in on yourself each day and acknowledging your emotions.

“Whether you just do some deep breathing, some meditation, some family yoga. If we have to bring the kids into it, that’s fine. Let’s all do it together. But, yeah, just something, something each day to just let yourself be aware of how you’re feeling," said Heavey.

And she said don’t hide how you’re feeling from your children. It can actually teach them a good lesson.

“If a kid does call you out and they’re like, 'Mom, you look stressed,' or like 'Mom, what’s going on?' Just be like yeah, I am. I am. And I’m trying. I’m trying to work through it. And it’s not easy for me but, you know, I’m doing the best that I can," said Heavey. "All that a kid is going to learn from that is, okay, you can be honest about your emotions and you can work through them.”

For couples struggling to get some alone time, Heavey said you can tell the kids you’re going to do your own thing for a moment.

“Even if it means saying, 'Hey kids, we’re going to put a movie on and you’re going to stay here and we’re going to go into the backyard and do our own picnic for a date night,' the kids can handle that and see that their parents are making time for themselves.”

This way parents can lead by example while giving themselves some well-deserved self-care.

Even if you’re never talked with a therapist before, Heavey highly recommends doing so for any parents feeling overwhelmed during this time.