Coming Together to Talk About Parenting in a Pandemic
By guest editor, Brittany Collins, Director of PAACT: Promising All Atlanta Children Thrive
Parenting young children has always been stressful, but parenting in a pandemic? It’s brought a whole new level of anxiety to families coping financially, socially, and emotionally with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New York Times recently reported on several surveys showing that parents, particularly those with children under the age of 5, are more stressed than their non-parent peers. One survey found 63% of parents had lost emotional support this year, making things even more difficult for child caregivers. An online survey of Georgia parents conducted by GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students found 83% of respondents agreed that COVID-19 had disrupted their home and family life.
As part of our PAACT: Promise All Atlanta Children Thrive initiative, we have partnered with Civic Dinners to launch a series of virtual conversations to make it easier for Atlanta families to find a new source of support during these difficult times. The Parenting in a Pandemic Civic Dinners offer an authentic and transparent conversation for parents and caregivers about the realities of raising young children in Atlanta in 2020, and what we need to ensure our children have the best possible start. You can learn more here.
PAACT, an initiative of GEEARS, was established to promote and encourage cooperation between government, education and business sectors to improve outcomes for young children and families in the City of Atlanta. They have come together with Civic Dinners, a platform that is globally recognized for its ability to bring people together for meaningful conversations, to give parents and caregivers a place to express themselves, support each other and spark change.
Already, the Civic Dinners have provided a place where parents can talk about the difficulties they are facing. These conversations will help guide PAACT’s work by providing insights about what families in Atlanta need now.
“I am completely overwhelmed balancing work and caring for my three small children,” said one participant. “It is great to connect with other moms experiencing the same thing and it invigorated each of the moms in different ways.”
Many of the conversations have touched on the difficulty of working with children at home, the high cost of quality childcare, and the inequities that have become even more pronounced for families of color during the pandemic.
“Our Civic Dinner was fantastic,” said Robyn Clemons, the owner of Local Green Atlanta and a member of the PAACT Advisory Board. “We had a very engaging discussion about the effects of COVID on our parenting style and the emotional impact our children have endured not only by the pandemic, but also by the social injustice in the country. Many parents shared their children’s need for emotional advocacy and were provided several suggestions and resources from other parents. This type of engagement, in a safe space, binds us as a community. The support and exchange was therapeutic. We are certainly looking forward to our next dinner.”
If you are an Atlanta parent or caregiver, please consider hosting or participating in a Parenting in a Pandemic Civic Dinner to join this critically important community conversation.