At Sharpminds, we affirm that ahead of student success, we must always prioritize the well being of students both physically and mentally. The switch towards online learning can be difficult for everyone in a myriad of ways, one of the most prominent being mental health. Now more than ever, parents and caregivers must come together to facilitate positive mental health for young students who are struggling with the transition to online learning, and being isolated from their friends and teachers. While the feelings of stress and anxiety at this time can be great, there are many ways guardians can help to foster more positive responses to the situation. Here are some steps that you can take towards maintaining a healthy and happy mental space for your children, and everyone else in the household.
First and foremost, the situation must be addressed and explained properly. In times as uncertain as these, it is essential that children receive the security and comfort they truly need, and communication is a crucial step towards that. This doesn’t mean pretending everything is ‘hunky dory’, but instead showing them that it is okay to feel the emotions they may be feeling, and to express themselves when necessary.
This Too Shall Pass:
This step builds on the previous one in that it ensures children are given the certainty that this situation is not permanent. For children, even a couple of weeks can feel like enormous stretches of time, and although the duration of this situation is still unclear, it’s important children are reminded that it will indeed reach its conclusion sooner or later. The knowledge that things will pass and resolve themselves is an important step for helping children cope with not just lockdown measures, but many of the other stressful situations they can encounter in the future.
While spending times with friends or extended family may be out of the picture for the time being, that doesn’t mean fun, scheduled activities are. Right now is an amazing opportunity for parents and families to get some much needed bonding time together. There are many activities here that are potentially great examples, but each will depend on the family and the child. Going for a walk, working on homework, and learning new extracurricular skills like cooking, painting or an instrument are all great activities that can establish connection and stability. These activities are also a great way for children and parents to open up the lines for communication as well, and deeper conversations.
Regular routines are extremely important for children, especially during times of uncertainty. While all kinds of things may be in flux, its integral for children, and even parents to still have some level of schedule and stability. This can be done through set wake up times, bedtimes, as well as meals. Group activities can also be incorporated into this step in terms of certain days or hours when they take place.
We hope you can use these tips towards creating a positive environment for your children. While these times are difficult, they also present a potential opportunity for more growth and more success for young students. Be safe, be healthy and be happy.