Parenting — And So Much More — During Coronavirus School Closures

Michigan students across the state have been home for one week as part of government-ordered shutdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19. Two experts weigh in the role parents plays in their homebound children’s development.

School is cancelled across the state for three weeks as we try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Parents are “playing a lot of roles for their children right now, [including both] friend and companion.” – Dr. Brigid Beaubien, Eastern Michigan University

Here in Michigan, we are finishing the first week of those three weeks. Although schools are there to educate our kids, they also offer other critical services including child care and healthy meals. How is this affecting families, especially those most in need? 

Listen: How schools and children are being impacted by the spread of COVID-19. 


Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson is the Superintendent of Oakland Schools. Cook Robinson says ensuring “food equity for all our students across the county” was a big priority. That being said, the county school system is providing two meals a day for kids even though schools are closed. She also notes that intermediate school districts like hers, which provides supports for K-12 schools, are NOT shut down under the Governor Whitmer’s executive order. Cook Ribonson says Oakland Schools is still providing consultation and support on food programs, academics, and more.

Dr. Brigid Beaubien is a Professor and Graduate Coordinator for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Michigan University. Beaubien says parents are “playing a lot of roles for their children right now, [including both] friend and companion.”

She notes that structure while kids are at home is vital, which includes things like waking up at the same time each day and having set times for meals. Beaubien also points out the importance of the different kinds of stimulation children require, including creative, intellectual, social and sensory, things like Play-Doh, are a good resource right now, she says. 

“It’s important to figure out how you can help children socialize, can they read a story with their teacher on Facebook live or Facetime with a friend?” suggests Beaubien, who adds that “it’s also really important to have parents tell kids to look at all the helpers right now.”



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