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How to Navigate the New Normal: Afterschool Session for Families

How to Navigate the New Normal: Afterschool Session for Families

Oct 23, 2020

Questions and Answers

Question Mark


1. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home on days my son has virtual learning. At times I feel guilty for the interruption to my work day and to compensate, I find myself working later hours (which really only makes me feel guilty for missing out on more family time). Any tips for breaking this constant cycle of guilt? 

A lot of times, this guilt is self-imposed. Have conversations directly with your employer or supervisor to get a clear understanding of the expectations and deadlines. There may be flexibility that will alleviate some of that stress. Employers understand that we are all going through these stressful times, and we are all learning how to work remotely. Please give your employer the opportunity to support you. If needed, you can make practical adjustments to your schedule. However, we suggest dealing directly with the guilt. Sometimes a decision has to be made, and there is no right or wrong answer. We are all going through this, and you are not doing anything wrong. 

2. A lot of school communications have been last minute. I’m a type A person who likes to plan things out. So last minute changes are stressful to me. Any tips for reigning in the stress/emotions of it all? 

Last minute changes are inevitable in this climate. Recognize your limitations, and if you’re put in an impossible situation don’t be afraid to talk to your administration. Remember, they are learning at the same time we are, so be forgiving. 

No matter what you do today, you can always adjust for tomorrow. Virtual learning will not be perfect on day one, or month one. Know that progressively this will improve and be sure to network and communicate to find mutual resolutions. 

Don’t forget to look for the silver linings of this situation. There are some great benefits to virtual learning. 

3. Do you have any sliding scale programs for children from families with money issues? 

All hospital services are first billed through insurance. In the case that insurance doesn’t not cover the full cost of the treatment, financial assistance (based on need) is available. In the case that your child does not have insurance, the financial counselors can provide information about insurance and aid in the process of applying for financial assistance. 

4. What programs are available for preteens who are struggling with isolation because of COVID-19? It has been awful to watch my typically happy child struggle. We are now realizing that what began as social distancing can become social isolation causing kids to be depressed, sad or lethargic. 

Talking to a therapist one-on-one is a good option for socialization with another human being. Intensive Outpatient (IOP) is available at Inspira for kids 13 and older. They meet 4 times a week virtually in a group setting with other kids their age where they can kick around ideas, express what they’re feeling and cope with whatever they’re going through. We have immediate availability in that program. Inspira also has partial care available, which is for significant mental health concerns. 

Socialization is an important focus for many as winter is coming, low light is coming, and when you add in a habit of isolation, it can be scary. 

5. Is there any help for parents who must quarantine their child due to travel, but workplace is not letting them take off because it is travel related? It is causing me such stress that I could lose my job. Is there someone I can talk to? 

The NJ Family Leave Act allows you to take time off work for your children and have job protection. Take advantage of that. You have to do what is right for your family. And if you just need someone to listen, you can always call Inspira’s Behavioral Health department. 

6. How do you talk to your child about Covid and the fear/anxiety that surrounds it? 

Speak to your children in an age appropriate manner. A good starting point is to ask what they know about coronavirus. There is a lot of wild misinformation out there and we need to ensure they have accurate information from good sources. A great thing to do is to ask the simple question “How are you feeling?” Be curious and open. As a parent, you have the ability to expand yourself and hold that for them. You don’t have to react. You don’t have to fix it. Just bear witness to it. It can be really difficult for parents to sit back and bear witness to the sadness, anger or anxiety of our kids. 

7. Allowing kids to video chat with friends during remote learning. I am torn between being strict and making them concentrate on their work vs video chatting/working with friends. I try to remember that if they were in school, they would be able to talk with their friends but that also makes me feel guilty that I am not making them sit and concentrate more. 

There should certainly be a balance, but as long as your children are meeting school requirements and getting their work done, there is nothing wrong with allowing them to video chat with friends. It is the safest way for them to socialize right now. And, the socialization will help get them through this. 

8. Any groups for mature 10 year olds? 

In all counties in NJ, there are support groups and activity groups that run out of the various Family Success Centers. These are generally for socialization and support. For treatment, Inspira offers in-person partial hospitalization programs (which are group-based) for children of all ages. 

9. My child is in college and now having mental health issues due to changes on campus surrounding the covid. What should I do- bring him home or allow him to stay on campus? The wellness center at his college is only online. 

Listen to your gut. We can’t tell you what to do in this situation. You know your child the best. We urge you to keep open communication with your child about how he or she is feeling. It is important that he or she is able to talk to someone about feeling and experiences. Ultimately, only you know what is best for your family. 

Topics: COVID-19