BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many parents have taken on several new roles: balancing a career with being a full-time parent and now a teacher.
With the extension of the New York State PAUSE order, the pressure is mounting for many who wonder how long this will last.
“They’re putting a lot of pressure on themselves,” said Liz Vetrano, the Director of Development and Marketing at Every Person Influences Children (EPIC).
Nekia Kemp is the Executive Director of Buffalo’s Police Athletic League.
She’s also a single mother to an 8th grader and a kindergartener.
Kemp says getting an understanding of everyone’s workflow was vital in making this work for her family.
“We’ve now structured things to a way where they understand when I’m on zoom calls, and I’m on conference calls.”
While Kemp is working to take her organization virtual, she says she’s found resources for her children to stay occupied while learning during the day. In essence, she usually can’t step in to play “teacher” until about 4 o’clock most days.
“I’m a parent, and I’m also reaching out for resources. I need some resources: some apps, some cool things they can do on their own so they can progress at their own rate, and learn at their own rate while I’m working.”
Vetrano said this is a great model for any working parent.
“If the child understands what the parent has to do at a certain time of day either for work or for other things,” she said. “It’s going to help them focus on their own activities and not ask to be entertained all day.”
EPIC just launched a YouTube academy to give parents some options for keeping their children focused during the day.
EPIC also has a hotline for parents if they start to feel overwhelmed — anyone can call for help, or even to vent.
“Just because a parent was a child’s first teacher does not mean they need to wear that hat fully again now,” said Vetrano.
It’s also about taking time for self-care, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of time.
“30 seconds to 5 minutes a day for yourself and use that as a restorative time.”
Kemp says this time has been challenging, but rewarding for her — especially when it comes to spending time with her 13-year-old daughter.
“We’re having real-life conversations about what’s going on in the world and what’s going on in her life, and those are precious moments that I didn’t have before.”
Experts say these kinds of moments together can be educational, too.
“Doing as much as you can together — involving your children in cooking dinner. Involving them in maybe helping maintain the house or take care of a pet those are life skills too. They just might look different than in a classroom.”