Several Siskiyou County and North State agencies are offering free classes and support groups to help parents deal with kids and their own stress during the shutdown.

Families with kids who feel stress while staying home don’t have to go through it alone.

Several Siskiyou County and North State agencies are offering free classes and support groups to help parents deal with kids and their own stress during the shutdown.

Families are facing additional stresses during the shutdown, said Leigh-Ann Schack, supervisor for Shasta County Office of Education’s Bridges to School Success program. “Not only are they providing childcare and home schooling, they have to keep up with work demands at home, all while trying to juggle laundry and dishes and (other chores).”

Therapists and child-development experts, who host classes and groups, seek to help ease tension and make parenting easier while families spend so much time at home with each other.

“Parents we were already working with were saying how stressful this (shutdown) is,” which is why SCOE opened the program up to anyone, Schack said. 

Children and teens pulled from their daily routine are often more stressed than they would be otherwise, and may exhibit more behavioral problems, she said.

That jibes with the CDC’s description of stress responses to quarantine, which recommends families create and sustain a routine.

Kids also sense adults’ anxiety: Economic fears, stress from balancing working from home while parenting, fear of getting coronavirus, etc., Schack said. Even for parents, stress is “everything (about) routine being completely disrupted.”

Signs a child is experiencing more stress than usual include being more irritable, anxious or withdrawn than usual, Schack said. Children may have sleeping problems, or have more meltdowns and throw tantrums.

Parents, in turn, react to their children’s increased anxiety, so stress escalates cyclically, Schack said. When adults and kids in a household are all stressed, problems can escalate and “feel bigger than they would otherwise.”

Here are some North State organizations offering online parenting programs:

First 5 Siskiyou programs

First 5 Siskiyou offers family classes on Zoom and other platforms, most specifically designed for parents with children ages zero to five, according to the agency’s website.

Topics include parenting a child with autism, creating routines, making boundaries and other concerns. Parents can also ask for coaching to address specific issues or mundane topics, like potty training.

Go to https://first5siskiyou.org/parenting-education-classes/ for a full schedule of classes. Call 918-7222 or email allaboutthekids@first5siskiyou.org for more information.

Community Resource Centers

The Community Resource Centers in Dunsmuir, Weed and Mount Shasta offer online parenting classes, support groups and wellness classes.

These include a special class for dealing with family stress and ones for grandparents, foster parents and other guardians.

Go to the centers’ Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/y9cwp4sz or call 926-1400 for information, and for class times and days.

Bridges to School Success

The Shasta County Office of Education opened to all North State residents its free online classes and support groups through its Bridges to School Success program. They’re hosted by therapists on Zoom throughout May and June.

Topics include issues like disobedience, cleaning, chores and homework. There’s also self-care and relationship-advancing topics like “Strengthening Connections Through Music and Movement.” Most are on a drop-in basis; the exception is Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) classes, which requires six sessions to complete.

Go to https://tinyurl.com/y7raapwh for a full schedule of courses, or call 225-0350 for more information. Read more about the Bridges to School Success program at https://tinyurl.com/ybpo3njn.

Jessica Skropanic is features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers lifestyle and entertainment stories, and weekly arts feature