The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been particularly hard for kids. When school turned virtual last spring, students lost daily contact with friends and teachers.
Many students may feel disconnected from school since they are at home. Or they feel isolated without their classmates around. Like many of us, they might be feeling like there are no boundaries between home life and school life.
Despite these challenges, it is possible to remain confident and positive. Even if the school year looks different.
Here are a few tips to help boost your child’s mental health while attending virtual school.
Follow a daily routine: Sticking to a schedule for school days is important. Getting a good night’s sleep is necessary for mental health. Make sure your child goes to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, leaving enough time to go through a regular morning routine. That may include taking a shower, brushing teeth, changing out of pajamas and eating breakfast.
Talk to friends: Kids should talk with friends during breaks in the day as they normally would. FaceTime or set up a Zoom chat during lunch with friends. Try to avoid mid-day naps during break periods. Make sure your child continues to talk to friends after school and on weekends to avoid feeling disconnected.
Go outside: Set aside time to have your child go outside at least once during the school day. If they start to feel sad, anxious, or frustrated, have them step away from the computer and go outside to walk, run or play. Have them try a few slow deep breaths to regulate their body and calm their heart rate so they can go on with the rest of the day.
Have a designated classroom space: No one wants to feel like they are at school all the time. If possible, have a designated space that is just for schoolwork. Go to that room once the school day starts, and leave when it’s over. This will help your child draw boundaries between school and relaxation time.
Make time for laughter and fun: We’re all going through something new and uncertain. Mistakes will happen, and that’s OK. It’s still important to make time for fun with friends and teachers, and maybe even start a new hobby. More fun means less stress.
If your child is feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out for support whenever necessary. Don’t feel like you are expected to do everything alone. With a positive attitude and positive thoughts, you and your child can have a great school year.