Learning from home is definitely not a vacation. As we all know by now, work is still work and school is still school regardless of where it takes place.
The pressure of making good grades combined with the uncertainty of the pandemic can create stress in students. Managing that stress is necessary to remain mentally and physically healthy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, stress can affect children and teens differently. Some signs of stress parents should watch out for include: excessive crying or irritation in younger children, returning to behaviors they have outgrown, excessive worry or sadness, unhealthy eating or sleeping habits, irritability and “acting out” behaviors, poor school performance or avoiding school, difficulties with attention and concentration, avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past or unexplained headaches or body pain.
If stress is a concern, there are some things parents can do to address and avoid it:
Do regular check-ins
Ask your child how they feel and are adjusting to the new learning format. Remember to be supportive and reassuring. Discussing feelings regularly can help kids develop the ability to recognize and identify their emotions, and eventually cope with them.
Positive enforcement can go a long way in boosting morale and confidence. Rewards don’t necessarily have to be expensive or over-the-top. Give your kid a treat for completing homework assignments before the due date or compliment artwork.
Be a role model
Help your child adopt healthy habits by participating in them yourself, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising. This way the whole family can benefit from these good habits and bond through the shared experience.
Stay prepared and organized
Take the time to prepare for school mentally and physically. You can do this by setting a routine and creating a study space. For more tips on how to do this, click here.
Prevent stress by having the right tools, such as reliable access to learning platforms like Blackboard, Blackboard Ultra, Google Classroom. This way you can spend more time focusing on mental health and assignments, and less time worrying about using up the data bucket of your mobile plan.
Connect with friends and classmates
Children of all ages will miss socializing with friends and classmates, which is a big part of the school experience. Make some time for video calls with friends or set up virtual activities on weekends or after homework is done, like a multi-player online game or a Netflix or Hulu stay-at-home watch party. Doing this will relieve stress and reduce feelings of isolation.
Get help when you need it
If you are feeling overwhelmed or in need of additional support, contact your child’s teacher or their school counselor.
Remember that managing stress is a lifelong skill. Guiding your children today will benefit them during the pandemic and beyond.