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Parenting during a pandemic: Mental health expert has advice for families

Proper sleep, eating well key for productivity
Posted at 7:05 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 19:05:01-04

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Parenting during a pandemic can be stressful and summer camps are in limbo as the school year comes to a close.

WPTV spoke with a mental health expert who has advice for families coping with these uncertain times.

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For Natalia Herrera, family time is now all the time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Trying to juggle our work schedule and her schooling and also keeping her entertained because as a 6 year old, she’s an only child, so she requires attention,” Herrera said.

In between 6-year-old Mia’s virtual learning, there’s playtime, and Herrera is left fitting in work time. Summer camps were going to give her a little break, but she said the two she had scheduled are now canceled.

“So, summer will be here at home, even though we are aware that some summer camps are opening as parents we are still very hesitant,” Herrera said.

“Just a lot of questions coming up about how we are going to cope through the changing face of summer,” said Rebecca Nelson, a licensed mental health counselor.

Nelson, who works at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches, said the key is communicating openly with the entire family.

“It’s going to be really important that parents also are attending the proper sleep, eating, and eating well, and regularly taking medications as prescribed, avoiding mood altering substances: alcohol, sugar, caffeine,” she said.

Nelson said focus on what you can control.

“Knowing that we can’t necessarily solve the problem right now so instead the focus can be tolerating and get through the distress,” said Nelson.