Eye on KELOLAND: Parenting through a pandemic


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – It’s the last month until we turn our calendars to 2021, and this holiday season could come with reflections on a year unlike any other. Many people have been impacted by COVID-19 in various ways, including parents juggling remote learning and explaining a pandemic to their children.

A little over eight months ago in mid-March, the lives of families across South Dakota turned upside down when schools closed because of COVID-19.

“So, we got sent home and were able to do our jobs from home, which was awesome and we were very fortunate to have that happen and then we got to have our child here with us. Which was, I don’t know, definitely good, it was a good thing, but unique opportunities presented themselves. She definitely popped into a couple Zoom meetings,” Vermillion parents John and Shalea Schloss said.

“At first it was really exciting for my kids, like they thought it was this new big adventure, but you know, by summer, they were kind of, you know, yearning for the good old days of the swimming pool and play dates and that sort of thing,” Sioux Falls mom Erica Varcoe said.

With so much time at home, parents can find new ways to keep their kids entertained, like Vermillion parents John and Shalea Schloss did for their five-year-old daughter.

“One of the things we did do to kind of break up the monotony and keep it special for her is every Friday and Saturday we would go camping and we would go camp in the basement. So we would sleep on the couch and watch a movie and eat pizza, stuff like that,” John Schloss said.

Sioux Falls mom Erica Varcoe developed a new-found gratitude for the chance to slow down. She says she enjoyed spending individualized time with her three kids.

“Allowing them to, you know, learn and grow at their own pace and their own way and really just giving them that space to feel all the feels and, you know, juggle everything that they’re feeling and experiencing on top of their schoolwork,” Varcoe said.

They also had to try and explain a changing world to their children when they didn’t know the answers themselves.

“Everything about this pandemic has been so uncertain, you know, you don’t really know what one day to the next will be. Are you going to get a call that you’re a close contact? Are you going to find out that your kid can’t go to dance lessons?” Varcoe said.

“And trying to have to explain to her like why she couldn’t go play with the neighborhood boys, why she had to play in our yard only, that was really difficult, for us and for her,” Shalea Schloss said.

Life seemed to continue on as schools re-opened in the fall. But this came with underlying changes because of the pandemic like wearing masks to school.

“Being that she’s a little kid, she’ll sneeze in her mask, so we’re supposed to send her with three, sometimes she goes with five. Then she still comes home with a loaner one because she’s eaten spaghetti or something and it just comes back. She’s notorious for sneezing in her mask,” John and Shalea Schloss said.

“I don’t know if it’s motherly instinct or pandemic anxiety, but you know, you feel torn between wanting them to go to school and get back to, you know, the normal way of life too, you know, missing them at home and knowing that they’re safe at home,” Varcoe said.

With 2020 almost over, many people may be reflecting on the ups and downs of this unusual year.

“For me, it ends up being, like in regards to our daughter and being parents and all that, it comes down to kind of two things. The first would be gratitude for everything that we have. Stuff went really well for us and I know there’s a lot of other people everywhere where this has been life-changing and shattering,” John Schloss said.

“The word that we have really been hanging on to is grace. You know, just showing up every day and, you know, being okay with the feelings we feel and being okay to be afraid or scared or worried or excited but knowing that every day we need to show up and treat each other with kindness and with grace,” Varcoe said.

Whether you are currently fighting COVID-19, have recovered, or you’ve lost a loved one to it– help us take a look beyond the numbers by emailing your story to ushare@keloland.com

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Continuing The Conversation
See Full Weather Forecast

Trending Stories

Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss