Burned out parents and resilient children

Across the country, parents are doing their best to navigate parenting during a pandemic. Life feels consumed by the countless virtual meetings for work and school, the never-ending list of assignments, and for an increasing number of families, worries about putting food on the table. Feelings of burn-out increase, and you may be wondering when this will finally be over and if your children will be able to catch up with their learning. While we can’t tell you when this will pass, we can tell you that it’s OK, and that you and your children are more resilient than you may think.

In the beginning of May, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) published information to support families and their children. Amongst the various resources, they shared information about What Parents of Students Receiving Speech and Language Treatment in Schools Should Know During COVID-19 Closures. In this publication, they also addressed the anxieties parents may be experiencing with the following words of reassurance:

  1. “Children who regress can rebound.”

  2. “You are doing your best.”

Children are creating their own opportunities to use language (e.g. using new words they learn from Youtube videos, finding new ways to play and use their toys, or starting new routines on their own). You and your children are having conversations about meaningful people and events (e.g., meal times, family pets, old memories) . These experiences are natural and just as (if not more) valuable as endless worksheets!

These natural opportunities are what KidTalk is all about. Our activities tap into what’s already going on in your home, but take it a step further. It documents these new and special “language memories,” and also provides activities that stimulate more conversations.

When you use the “Start a Conversation” feature in KidTalk, you and your child can exchange thoughts about a picture. This gives your child a chance to practice describing and using language, but it gives you a chance to sit back and just listen to what your child is thinking. If you’re tired of arts and crafts, or having to come up with “the next best thing” to keep your child entertained, KidTalk provides an easy activity to engage your child with their own voice, and share these recordings with relatives who you can’t see because of social distancing. Your participation in this research will help inform policies about how to support parents and children during COVID-19.