Sarah Hagar hangs out with her boys Sol and Jules at the Ucluelet Skate Park. Hagar, a registered clinical counsellor, is working with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and Coastal Family Resource Coalition to offer free support to parents on the West Coast. (Nora O’Malley photo)

Free support sessions available to parents in Tofino, Ucluelet and surrounding First Nations communities

”I believe in the importance of caring for the caregiver.”

“It’s normal to feel anxious about sending your kids back to school,” says registered child and mental health counsellor Sarah Hagar.

Last week, B.C.’s Education Minister Rob Fleming announced a tentative plan to re-open district schools to in-class learning. The first day of class is slated for September 8.

To help parents talk through their worries brought on by COVID-19, Hagar has partnered with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and the Coastal Family Resource Coalition to offer free parent support sessions via phone, online platforms or even in-person. The best way to initiate an appointment is to visit the ‘West Coast Children’s Resilience Initiative’ Facebook page or send an email to

“I’m not giving any blanket advice. It’s very personalized to what people are experiencing. It’s very individualize support,” said Hagar. “I don’t think there is a one sized fits all answer for parenting.”

She said a lot of anxiety stems from not knowing what is going on. The mother of three suggests having regular conversations about boundaries related to the coronavirus to cultivate routines.

“It’s about talking through it and really thinking through it and planning. Having a plan can really decrease the anxiety,” notes Hagar.

For example, she talks to her own children about not sharing snacks because of germs and uses the keyword ‘distance’ when they’re out in public spaces to cue them on to giving people more space.

Practicing self-care and involving your kids in activities that bring personal joy, notes Hagar, will help build resiliency or “collectively bounce forward” as she likes to put it.

“I believe in the importance of caring for the caregiver. That’s when I do my best is when I feel supported. I think the work of caring for and raising children is super hard. It’s the most difficult choice ever. You’re always balancing your needs and the needs of others,” she said.

Living in a smaller community, Hagar adds, makes the stresses a little easier to deal with.

“We are fortunate. Urban kids will talk about [COVID-19] a lot different than rural kids,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: B.C. teacher hopes province will change back-to-school plan in fear of COVID transmission

READ: Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

READ: Frustration grows in Ucluelet as locked gate puts school garden in peril


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists’ vehicles vandalized in Tofino

Community steps up to support visitors.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Vancouver Island Indigenous leaders supportive of B.C.’s new plan for old forest preservation

More than 260,000 hectares in Clayoquot Sound mapped for immediate old growth harvesting deferral

HISTORY COLUMN: Reflecting on the 32nd anniversary of Canada’s apology to Japanese-Canadians

Japanese-Canadians an integral part of Tofino and Ucluelet’s history.

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Duration of Tour de Rock stop in Chemainus much shorter than usual

Four alumni riders don’t get to come for breakfast in COVID year

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Police seek help in naming Cowichan farm stand theft suspect

Video captured man prying cash box out stand on Norcross Road

Most Read