Stress-factors for Parents During COVID-19 and How to Cope

Preeti Bhati
Updated on
July 26, 2020

As the first cases of community spread COVID-19 arose in Singapore, much of the country began to take preventive measures. Parents and children stayed at home for two or three months, learning how to work from home and complete distance learning assignments. While this experience was stressful in its own right, parents are finding that they have a whole new slew of concerns during the pandemic as Singapore begins to reopen.

At One World International School, we recognise that there are many stress factors for parents during COVID-19, including:

The Safety and Health of Children

In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, safety is a top concern among parents. In Singapore, parents are particularly concerned about their children’s health and well-being as they commute to school, and while they are in the school building. The local government has enacted strict guidelines to help minimise the spread of COVID-19, and many of these measures are designed to protect children as they head back to school.

In addition, many international schools in Singapore are taking extra precautions to keep their students safe. At OWIS, a variety of safety measures have been implemented, including temperature screenings, face mask or face shield requirements, heightened cleaning and safe distancing measures, altered play and activity routines and more.

Continuity in Learning

Many parents are worried that the pandemic will have a detrimental impact on their child's education. This is particularly true for parents of secondary students in Grades 9 and above. With the cancellation of the Cambridge IGCSE and IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) examinations that were to be held in May and June 2020, parents are anxious about the effect on their children’s future.  

Fortunately, at OWIS, we have implemented a seamless system that has ensured that learning has continued throughout the crisis. When the schools were shut down, OWIS ensured education continuity with e-Learning to provide students with a full distance learning experience.

OWIS has also been working collaboratively with CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education) to provide evidence for assessments for students as per CAIE’s recommendations and guidelines. Students have been reassured that they will receive their IGCSE certificates in August as per CAIE’s communication.

The Cost of Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has been more than a public health crisis, it also has become a worldwide economic crisis. During this uncertain economic climate, some parents have become stressed about the cost of education. OWIS understands that many parents are facing unique circumstances, and our school offers an attractive fee structure that provides families with access to affordable, high-quality education for their children.

Physical Activity Levels in Children

In the first few weeks and months of the onset of the pandemic, government restrictions prevented students from participating in their group sports and extracurricular activities. As they transitioned to remote learning, they spent more time in front of screens than ever before, and parents quickly became concerned about physical activity levels in their children.

Even as restrictions are being lifted, it will still be difficult for children to gather in groups and participate in organised activities over the next several months. At OWIS, during our re-opening in June, when students came in on a rotational basis, we offered students a combination of virtual physical activities and in-person classes with appropriate social distancing in place.

social-distancing-on-playground

Mental Well-Being of Children

Children have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in a variety of ways, and many children of all ages are beginning to show signs of stress, anxiety and depression.

Older children, especially those impacted by cancellations to their IGCSE and IBDP exams and changes to their examination schedules may be particularly vulnerable. Explaining that this is a very unusual situation, that they are not alone in facing this and looking at the positive aspects of this uncertain time, can be reassuring to them.  

According to the Child Mind Institute, one of the best ways that parents can support their children during this time is to communicate with them frequently and provide them with age-appropriate explanations of the situation.

Social Interaction for Children

Children in Singapore are now able to meet up with their classmates again and interact in very small groups. This comes as a great relief to parents, as many have been worrying about the lack of social interaction. However, parents need to prepare students for the fact that socialising will look different than before, with face masks or face shields to be worn in public and safe distancing to be practised. It is still important to get creative when planning activities and to opt for virtual experiences whenever possible.

Most parents desperately want to provide their children with a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times. To help children cope with the changing social landscape, parents should take time to address specific concerns that children have, talk about how things have changed and how society is adapting to a new normal.

At OWIS, we are committed to helping children adjust during these unprecedented times. To learn more about us and to discover how we are adapting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, fill out our enquiry form to schedule your school tour.

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About Author

Preeti Bhati

Head of Additional Needs

Preeti joins OWIS as the Head of Additional Needs. Originally from India and residing in Singapore for over 10 years now, Preeti has spent many years in the Special needs domain. She has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Special education from the Spastics Society of India, a double Masters degree in Guidance and Counselling and Education from James Cook University, Australia (Singapore campus).

Preeti has over 16 years of experience as a teacher, remedial tutor, educational therapist and educational consultant. She has extensive experience as an early intervention and learning support specialist in various schools in India, Singapore and Bali.

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