If there’s anything that is certain about the upcoming school year, it’s that everyone is going to have to do a little adjusting from what we’re used to. While some are planning on attending class in-person, many others will be attending their first day via virtual methods. Change can be a little bit scary for everyone, including our kids, but there are some ways to help them cope with the stress of online learning.
These tips come from Dr. Alok Trivedi, a human behavior and national stress reduction expert, and you might find them useful!
- Don’t forget about social interaction: Kids need to be around other kids to develop their social skills. While you might not want to have a group of your child’s friends in your home, you can still encourage in-person get-togethers with one or two friends in your driveway or backyard keeping health guidelines in place. Parents should still limit time spent on electronics but do allow your kids to interact with their friends online each day.
- Keep things in perspective: Like most of us, kids want to know when things will go back to normal and when they will be able to return to the classroom. Avoid over-promising and don’t give specific timelines, but at the same time do be optimistic. A good response is: I’m really not sure, but hopefully it will be soon.
- Hear them out: Kids, especially younger ones, can have a hard time comprehending everything that is going on with COVID. It can even scare them more than we realize. Talk to your kids. Listen to what they have to say and what’s on their mind. Address their concerns. Sometimes they just need to speak to someone they love and trust to feel better. Parents can also do periodic “check-ins” with their kids and start the conversation to see if there is anything they want to discuss.
- Set aside time for fun: All kids need to have time each day for fun. Make sure your children are engaging in at least one activity for 30 minutes each day that they truly enjoy. This can be painting, playing a game, hitting baseballs, fishing or whatever. This isn’t only about letting them have fun, but it clears their mind, reduces their stress and helps them think about something more pleasurable than online learning.
- Look to the future: Again, avoid setting specific timelines, but reinforce for your kids that there is an end in sight. Use phrases like, “When we go out in public again,” “When you go back to school,” and “On our next big family trip.” Simply knowing that this is only temporary will allow your kids to cope and work through these trying times.
Hopefully these tips will help you if your child is struggling with change! For more on Dr. Alok Trivedi, click here.