The COVID-19 pandemic continues to require change in the way we navigate through daily life, and that includes your child’s schooling. You’ve already had to deal with adjusting your own work schedule, but now it’s time to think about your child’s development during this “new normal,” especially if they are learning from home. Below are strategies for helping your child adapt to their new schooling situation.
Establish consistent routines
Learning from home introduces new challenges with keeping children focused, their daily schedules, and self-discipline. A consistent bedtime is still important, but schooling at home requires additional structure to prevent distraction from easy access to TV, toys, and devices. It’s important to set boundaries between learning and relaxing, and you’ll also want to establish predictable times and schedules for breaks, lunch, and play. Physical activity is a critical part of a healthy daily routine, so designate time for walks and other outdoor activities to keep your child moving. The familiar nature of these routines will help your child feel more centered.
Help them understand what’s happening
Being honest about the pandemic and its impact on everyone’s lives is critical to helping your child adapt. Reassure them by talking about ways to stay safe and healthy. Help them realize that, even though they aren’t physically in the classroom, their schooling remains important to staying on track with their learning.
Ask them about their feelings
Encourage your child to share their feelings and fears with you. As the pandemic prolongs their separation from other students, they may be feeling increasing anxiety about their friendships, and fitting in moving forward. Their openness will not only give you insight into their emotional state, but it will also reassure them that everything will be okay. Remember, without teachers and other educators around, you are even more of a player in monitoring your child’s mental state and mood.
Don’t forget about ongoing care needs
Even though learning may be taking place at home, it’s crucial that you keep up with your child’s routine care, which includes back-to-school check-ups with their pediatrician, and essential vaccines, including the annual flu shot. Keeping your child healthy is especially important while the risk of COVID-19 remains a concern.
Keep a positive attitude
Children are very perceptive and often pick up on the emotions of their parents. Staying optimistic can have a positive impact on your child’s emotional state and may help relieve some of the anxiety caused by this new and unusual situation. Check in often with your child about how they’re feeling, and celebrate their achievements whenever you can, even if it’s just acknowledging a hard day’s work.