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  • Writer's pictureDena Lampert

Supporting Your Kids in 2020

The months, weeks, and even days preceding the beginning of the new school year brought many concerns and unknowns to teachers, parents, and students. Even days before the school year began, teachers and families were receiving confusing information on how children would be attending school that year. Would they even be attending school at all? It was extremely difficult for everyone to conceptualize how the school year would function.


As the school year unfolded many teachers, students, and parents tried to adjust to a rotating in-person and remote learning schedule, there were a number of obstacles and bumps in the road. Technical problems, scheduling problems, lack of supplies and general communication issues plagued the first week of school.


Students started this school year knowing that if the school could go fully remote at any point based on positive COVID cases, it would. In fact, some schools have already temporarily closed in parts of our area.


With this abrupt change in the regular routine of millions across the country, and the stress that came alongside it, you can imagine the impact this has had on so many teachers, students, and parents across the US. Families have been forced to learn a new way of living, working, and educating.


As parents learn to navigate this at-home learning—especially while working themselves, and possibly having multiple children in school—there are many added stressors that can cause fear, depression, and anxiety. These may include:


  • Internal and external pressure to make sure their children are achieving good grades

  • Concerns over a lack of social interaction for their children

  • Keeping their children focused and on task

  • Children experiencing a decrease in retention learning from home as opposed to learning in the school environment


This list is not exhaustive by any means, but most parents are sharing the same concerns. We are aware that this is a difficult time for many, and it is for this reason that we want to share our tips for parents and students navigating this challenging time.


1. Focus on building adaptability and flexibility skills


Learning how to cope with sudden change and sudden hardship is an important skill to practice and teach our children. When we as parents present these skills in the home, our children are more likely to learn and imitate these skills, therefore learning how to become more adaptable and flexible themselves.


Some ways we can practice building these skills during this time are:


  • Tune-in to what is going on with your children, and listen to their concerns and fears. You may not have the answer, but they need you now more than ever before. Odds are, they do not know how to react to this new change so take some time to re-group during the day and listen to how your child is doing.

  • Understand that this new way of learning is possibly going to show you and your child how to become more flexible when changes occur.

  • Rework your existing schedule and routine to make a new one that works best for your current situation.


2. Accept that it may be very difficult for your child to stay focused during remote learning


In addition to building adaptability and flexibility skills, acceptance plays a key role in managing this change. This is not an easy time for anyone. As mentioned above, parents are reporting that their children are having trouble staying focused while learning from home. Children are bored, missing their friends and missing social interaction. But this is okay. This is normal right now.


So how can we adjust our routine so our children are making the most of their school day, and parents aren’t pulling their hair out? Here are some tips for what you can add into your day to make it more manageable:


  • Encourage your children to take frequent breaks

  • Go outside for at least 30 minutes each day

  • Play board games or other games together

  • Play music in the house

  • For parents - Get out of the house kid free at least once per week


It is important that children are allowed a flexible schedule during the day. This will help them refocus their minds and be more positive during the day.


3. Building resiliency may be more important than learning content in the short term


Although this is a challenging time and there are an abundance of stressors and adjustments, this is also a time to grow. The uncertainty and constantly changing environment can teach children how to recover and “bounce back” from unforeseen circumstances. This is an important life skill. So while this is hard for us and our children, it is a moment to learn and grow.


Remember, we are not going to be perfect and everyone is struggling in the current climate. We might not be able to do it all, and it might not go as well as we hoped, but doing the best we can each day is the most we can do.



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