St Louis News

Families navigating the return to virtual learning



ST. LOUIS — As COVID cases continue to spike across the St. Louis area, virtual learning has returned for the foreseeable future for many students and parents.

So how does a family keep their sanity when stuck at home again?

“Probably emotionally preparing your kids is the most important thing,” said Dr. Eric Spiegel, a child psychiatrist at Washington University & St Louis Children’s Hospital. “Kids know how to do this now, and parents have had a routine. So, I think addressing the emotions associated with it.”

Dr. Eric Spiegel, associate professor of child psychiatry with Washington University and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, recommends getting back to good routines for parents and children — even if the routine of going to school is at home for the short time being.

“You want to make sure and find you’re not constantly parenting 100% of the time, and you want to make sure you give kids some space as well,” said Spiegel. “Everybody needs some alone time, and we need to remember back to the early parts of the pandemic where everybody needs to separate and get their time away.”

Being creative and flexible is also key for children and parents. For adults, Spiegel recommends prioritizing self-care.

“Make sure you’re also having a routine, getting your physical activity, making time for yourself and time for your partner,” said Spiegel. “Making sure that relationship is solid and you’re feeling healthy. And if you’re needing a therapist or need something to take care of you emotionally so you can be there for your kids. This is challenging for all of us, and parents need to remember this is hard and you’re a better parent when you take care of yourself.”

Spiegel recommends exercising the mind and body, playing games as a family, or getting outside when temperatures are above 30 or 40 degrees for a family hike in nature.



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