School closures, remote learning, working from home, night shifts, physical distancing, isolation, curfews — it’s a lot to navigate — and many parents are struggling to balance it all.
A post titled “The Parents Are Not All Right” published on Medium.com last April resonated with many — myself included. In the essay, the author highlighted how moms and dads really weren’t doing okay during the early weeks of the pandemic. Being a provider, educator, employee, and simply trying to “get through the day” was a lot to juggle. Ten months later, not much of it seems to have gotten easier for parents and children.
So, how can parents find ways to better handle the stress of the current situation, especially when our regular support systems aren’t available? Thankfully, there are programs and resources to help parents cope and to reassure them that they’re not alone.
A new service for Quebec parents
In March 2020, the Fédération québécoise des organismes communautaires Famille (FQOCF) created the service Priorité Parents as a complement to Ligne Parents, a 24/7 emergency telephone helpline. Staff respond to parents’ needs for short- or medium-term support, and are a resource for those seeking support services from community organizations close to their home.
The free and confidential service helps parents who have concerns or questions related to their child’s development, discipline, learning difficulties, issues with teens, or parental burnout. Priorité Parents can help whether you are a biological or adoptive parent, a guardian, or a significant person in a child’s life.
“Priorité Parents is THE service to help parents to find the right resource for them, depending on their needs. With Priorité Parents, parents now have a strong safety net to depend on throughout parenthood,” said Marie-Eve Brunet-Kitchen, Director FQOCF.
Sophie Méley-Daoust, Communications Advisor at FQOCF, said that since there is a constant increase in the demand from parents. “COVID-19 has changed the day-to-day lives of many parents,” she said. “According to what we have witnessed, parents are experiencing significant stress and anxiety.”
With the pandemic still an ongoing crisis, and parents stretched thin, Priorité Parents will maintain the service throughout 2021.
Increased challenges for parents and children
Results of a survey conducted in fall 2020 by the Léger firm, and made public by the Early Childhood Observatory, set out to find how young children (up to the age of 5) and their families were faring during the second wave of COVID-19. The findings included:
- Sixty-eight per cent of respondents felt that being a parent is more stressful now than before the pandemic.
- Thirty-nine per cent said the pandemic has had a negative impact on their ability to reconcile work and family responsibilities
- Forty-four per cent of parents of young children said that the pandemic was negatively affecting their ability to remain calm when caring for their children.
Requests for support from Priorité Parents can be made online at fqocf.org/parents/priorite-parents-en/ or by leaving a message at 1-844-397-2695. A team member will contact you within 24 to 72 hours. All regions of Quebec are covered by this new service and all families can benefit from it.
For emergency 24/7 support contact LigneParents toll-free, from anywhere in Quebec at 1-800-361-5085
About the Fédération québécoise des organismes communautaires Famille (FQOCF)
In addition to using its expertise to support parents, the FQOCF acts nationally as an advisor to public decision-makers and influencers on issues related to families and parents. Since 1961, it has represented, supported, and aimed to increase the influence and professional development of its more than 240 member organizations (OCFs). What is an OCF? These family community organizations provide support and expertise — from pregnancy to adulthood — to mothers, fathers, and their children. They promote the development of families and communities through workshops, training courses and conferences, daycare centres, activities, collective kitchens, and more.
To find a community organization in your region, you can search the online repertoire at fqocf.org/trouver-un-ocf/