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Delay to first day of school can be stressful for parents

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s the day students in our province were supposed to be packing up their knapsacks, decking themselves out in some new duds, and catching up with friends they haven’t seen since June.

But hallways will be quiet and classrooms dark today, as families anxiously wait for a sign the dispute between teachers and the government may be coming to an end.

The first day of school is officially a casualty of the labour dispute between public school teachers and the BC government. This extended summer could have a major impact on parents — both those who work and those who stay home.

Stress has been heightened incredibly for parents in BC, according to counsellor Alyson Jones.

But while parents who work may be feeling anxious, Jones says stay-at-home parents are impacted as well. She points out they’d normally have a bit of a break this time of year, and that’s something they aren’t getting.

She adds lots of working parents are turning to those stay-at-home ones for help. “They’re going into a situation already depleted and exhausted and there’s more being required of them or asked from them from people they really care about.”

As frustrating as this all is, Jones recommends trying to turn it into a learning experience for kids about the system we live in. She has some advice:

“Even though this situation may be making us feel like we’re hanging in limbo, find ways to keep things moving for your children. I have several friends right now who are organizing study groups for their children, starting this week. They’re getting together the children from their friends and family. Some are even bringing a tutor in to keep the information moving and keep the structure in place. Get your kids involved in something that has structure right now. Have them structure some learning in which they get to [put forward] some ideas and you get to put some ideas,” she suggests.

Jones adds it’s important to not just wait for a solution to come.