Strategies for staying positive and maintaining mental stamina as we settle into online learning.
By: Chelsea Larson
With circuit breaker measures extended till June 1, it is certain that our kids will end the school year online and not be back in their classrooms. Here are some strategies for staying positive and maintaining mental stamina as we settle into online learning for the foreseeable future.
Focus on the "can"
If you're worried about the COVID-19 pandemic or stressed about working from home, your kids will be too. Think about what you are realistically able to do and try not to be discouraged when things don't go as expected. Apply this same mentality to your children and their online learning experience—it's hard to learn new things without your teacher or outside your usual learning environment. Tackle each day's work as it comes and focus on what you and your children can do together during this time spent at home.
Take breaks and keep active
Physical health is just as important as mental health! Children need regularly scheduled breaks to rest their brains and reduce their screen time exposure. Once the school day is done, consider a home-based fitness regimen, dancing and being silly together in the living room, or cooking dinner in the kitchen. Be intentional about spending time together and keeping active as a family.
Pursue a passion project
Being at home all the time doesn't have to be a bad thing! Does your child like to garden? Have they ever expressed interest in learning to cook or draw? Find out more about your child's extracurricular interests and encourage them to pursue a hobby they haven't had time to focus on in the past. If it's an unplugged activity that keeps them physically active or reduces their time in front of a screen, even better!
Stay in touch with friends and family
You and your children are not the only ones feeling stuck at home. Take this time to reach out to family or friends who are likely also struggling or discouraged. Understand that your children are missing their friends and are especially affected by social distancing, so consider ways for your children to stay connected to their peers. In the same way, keep in touch with other parents. Every child's online learning experience is unique, but the families in your school community can understand and relate better than others.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you're having a hard time finding balance or you're feeling overwhelmed at home, try to keep in constant communication with all family members about what works and what doesn't. If you and your spouse are both working from home, ask for their help in supporting your child's online learning experience. Consider taking shifts so you can supervise your child's learning while still making time for breaks and getting important tasks done in your home and with your work.
Remember that your child's teachers are here for you! We love you and want to see you and your child succeed during this period of online learning. If you're concerned about being a bother or interrupting something, feel free to schedule a set time to meet with your child's teacher, counselor, or principal. Whether your child is struggling, you're looking for additional ways to challenge them, or you just want to share about their accomplishments, know that we are a resource and a community. We'd love to hear from you!