Prior to COVID-19, distance learning was something many of us thought about for working adults who wished to go back to school or the few kids we know who participated in home school learning. At the start of the pandemic, we had to instantly adjust to distance learning and some of us learned about it for the first time.
At first, we thought the adjustment would be temporary because none of us could fathom what was coming our way. The fear of catching a new deadly disease had many of us scared and full of anxiety. We were forced to deal with daily increasing death totals, job and wage losses, lack of child care, isolation, frustration, confusion, and then more social injustice and protests. While all of this was happening, decisions were made to keep our students safe, which resulted in the start of the school year with distance learning.
Coping with distance learning can be difficult for many. The CDC suggests that parents and caregivers stay in contact with their child’s school, create flexible schedules, and look for available resources, but exactly what does that look like? How easy is it for you to create a schedule for one or several children? If you’re a working parent, do you have challenges finding childcare for young children or do you worry about your adolescent child being home alone too much? Are you worried about maintaining a roof over your head and feeding your family? Are you stressed, overwhelmed, and tired of the unknown as it relates to this pandemic? These are just a few questions that some parents are struggling with as they try to provide for and protect their children.
Below are a few suggestions and resources to help parents cope with distance learning.
Check in with your child on a regular basis (daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc.)
o How are you?
o Do you have any concerns about school, friends, family, etc.?
o How can I help you?
o What is something new you want me to know about you?
o Have you been feeling stressed?
o Would you like to go for a walk and talk?
o Do you miss your friends?
o How can I help you reconnect with your friends?
o What types of new things have you learned since the COVID-19 Safer at Home Order?
o Would you like to learn something new together? (Baking, exercise, sewing, new sport,
Monitor your child’s stress levels and pay attention to new concerning behaviors.
Have age appropriate conversations with your child when they have questions about COVID-19.
Set goals together and accomplish them together. Create a vision board together.
Create a schedule and routine to help with online learning.
Connect with other parents for support. You’re not the only one feeling the way you do.
If you feel extremely overwhelmed get help.
o Affordable, private online counseling through BetterHelp .
o Contact your local, county, and state level department of mental health for additional
Participate in fitness activities with your kids.
o Bike Riding
o Dancing (Try Just Dance on PS4,
XBOX, or Nintendo)
o Walking in your neighborhood,
backyard, park, etc.
If possible, create a productive learning space at home.
o Separate learning from living space if possible.
Here are our recommendations for distance learning needs:
o Use portable folding desks for small learning spaces that can be put away at the end of the day.
o Use small plastic bins to store school supplies.
o Purchase headphones with a mic instead of earphones for smaller children.
o Comfortable Chair
o Backup charger for laptop, chromebook, or tablet
Use daily positive affirmations with your child.