Parents Share Their Pandemic Experiences With PAACT
Since the start of the pandemic, parents and caretakers have struggled to balance the demands of working, parenting, and the education of their children. GEEARS and its initiative PAACT: Promise All Atlanta Children Thrive have worked throughout these challenging times to help families cope with the realities of raising young children.
In the fall of 2020, PAACT partnered with Civic Dinners to launch a community conversation for parents and caregivers to learn more by directly from Atlanta families. “Parenting in a Pandemic” was a conversation that brought together a community of mutual support to discuss both the challenges and joys of parenting during COVD-19.
PAACT and Civic Dinners summarized our findings in a detailed report that laid out some of the themes and special moments from those dinners, including some of the fears and frustrations of Atlanta parents, their tips for getting through, their support needs and their hopes for the future. Several themes emerged concerning the role of community, school, the workplace and government in helping families succeed. Read the full report here.
Children: What a child needs
Participants said children need a sense of love, care and belonging to thrive, and this can be nurtured in the context of a strong community.
“[Children need] early access to high quality and affordable educational programming.”
Community: It takes a village to raise a child
Many parents were grateful for the support they’ve received from other families and neighbors during the pandemic.
“I am grateful for all the support I receive from my community.”
Government: Let’s get to work
There was a general frustration among the participants with the government’s response to the pandemic, highlighting the need for greater institutional support, communication, and transparency.
“Parents feel supported by their government when they have access to resources, information, and services which promote their well-being and the well-being of their children.”
School: Handling two jobs
The rise in working from home and virtual learning made it exceptionally difficult for parents to balance work and child care responsibilities.
“Parents are struggling with navigating and balancing the demands of working, parenting, and supporting the educational goals they hold for their young people.”
Work: A toast to nurturing workplaces
Participants said that flexibility in the workplace has become increasingly crucial for parents and caregivers, especially during the pandemic.
“Participants felt supported, overall by their work, especially when it came to their employers. Employers communicated to stay home to be safe, adjusted hours to accommodate children’s schedules, and kept the team updated.”
These informative conversations served two purposes: first, to allow parents to engage in a “cathartic” conversation about the struggles they’ve faced, and second, to inform the work PAACT will do on behalf of City of Atlanta parents.
Many respondents suggested that GEEARS and PAACT can focus on ensuring an affordable, high-quality educational experience for children and guiding parents on how to best support their child’s education. We look forward to engaging in this important work and having more of these conversations, through the pandemic and beyond.