7 Online Support Groups for Parents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Talking to people who understand what you're going through always helps. These online communities give parents a place to express themselves, share advice, and feel a little less alone right now.

Raising children during a pandemic can feel like a choose-your-own-adventure novel. You've faced new challenges, masked kids at school, and researched new viral strains or vaccine side effects. The only thing you know for sure is that everything changes all the time. Yet you're trying to lead your kids confidently into the future.

As the earliest days of COVID-19 showed us, social media can play a key role in helping us feel less alone during this confusing time. Even now, after all the stay-at-home orders, Clorox hoarding, and obsessive sanitizing has ceased, we still turn to online feeds for reassurance and support. For those who have to self-isolate, they are the easiest way to interact with friends, family, and the world at large.

It's true that social media gets a bad reputation, especially from parents. It's blamed for cyberbullying, bad behavior, and short attention spans, and no one likes the data collection and advertising. But during the COVID-19 crisis, it's been a lifeline—and not just because it's allowed the kids to see grandma. For so many parents, it's offered real community, a place to get answers and reassurance that somehow things will be OK.

Myriad Facebook support groups have popped up in a bid to help people through the pandemic—and they speak to every group you can imagine, from frontline workers and parents working from home to pregnant people and new parents. They are a balm for those who don't have anyone else around them who can relate to their particular circumstances. And they do it all through the lens of the coronavirus.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Mother using laptop and holding her newborn baby at home
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1. Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic

With over 67,000 members, this pandemic-themed group is a hot spot for parents trying to navigate life at an unprecedented time. Started in March 2020 by nonprofit organization ParentsTogether, it addresses questions about COVID-19 travel rules, mask etiquette, and what to do if you're not ready to vaccinate under-5s. But it also offers guidance on allowances, bedtime hours, summer jobs, and what to say if your kids aren't listening to you. Comforting posts connect you to a community of parents just like you and provide a great resource when you're exhausted from trying to fill everyone else's cup. VISIT GROUP.

2. Learning in the Time of Corona

School closures may be over for kids in the U.S., but many parents have elected to keep little ones home after re-evaluating things during the pandemic. Suddenly parents who might never have considered it before are homeschooling, and thrust into the role of educator for the first time. Or those who might have sent their kids to daycare are scrambling to fill their kids' hours with enriching activities. This group will hold your hand through the inevitable 'What now?' and make learning fun. It's not restricted to those who are doing remote education, either; each post works for kids in school, too. VISIT GROUP.

3. The 'COVID-19 Baby' Parents Group

Having a baby during a pandemic can really stress out parents-to-be. Is it a bad time to do this? they secretly wonder. How vulnerable will our infant be? Is it OK to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding my child? (Answer: Yes.) Expectant and new parents need support at the best of times, but when facing a long list of labor and delivery rules, warnings about viral variants, and shortages on formula and diapers, it's easy to get freaked out. This group can be a social-distancing friend to lean on, replacing panic with the reassurance and solidarity you need to make it through. VISIT GROUP.

4. COVID-19 Healthcare Professionals

If anyone deserves extra support during the coronavirus pandemic, it's health care workers. The daily public applause may be gone but doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are still on the frontlines, facing new waves of the coronavirus and grappling with misinformation in a bid to help others. Facebook groups tailored to their very specific emotional needs offer them a place to vent, cry, seek support, and ask for advice. Here, members can share their first-hand pandemic experiences in a non-judgmental, pro-science space and "provide accurate and up-to-date information" that helps those they serve. VISIT GROUP.

5. Single Parents: Surviving Single Parenthood

In moments like these, single parents might need more support than usual. Trying to find a new job or working remotely with kids is twice as difficult when you have no one around to help, and it feels impossible to arrange care when all the babysitters are booked up! Forget about what happens if you get sick, or your child falls ill. The 112,000 members of this group get those little things that your partnered or child-free peers can't understand, commiserating with you when you feel lonely or tired, advising you on thorny parenting dilemmas, and celebrating your kids' birthdays like members of the family. VISIT GROUP.

6. Special Needs Parents Support & Discussion Group

Parenting a special needs child comes with its own unique set of challenges, but disrupted schedules, periodic bouts of isolation, and the difficulty of securing doctors' appointments during a pandemic can make it feel harder than ever. In tough times, support groups like this one may mean the difference between constantly being at your wits' end and knowing that you have a solid community to rely on. With about 54,000 members, this group is also extraordinarily active, as parents post up to 50 times a day—so you know that you'll get the advice you need without having to wait weeks for feedback. VISIT GROUP.

7. Nextdoor.com

We know this website may not be the first place you think of when you need help in a crisis, but a hyperlocal social media platform should be your first stop when you have questions about what's happening where you live. Need to find out which grocery store has inflation-proof pricing, which restaurants survived the pandemic, or what area testing facilities are open? Chances are good that someone in your neighborhood will know. And when it comes to older adults and those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, it's the perfect place to ask for help or offer it to others; a special map feature on the site allows members to volunteer their services and field requests from those in need. VISIT WEBSITE.

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