From one day to the next we don’t know what to expect in the education of our children. Distance learning, homeschooling, hybrid models — plans change and policies change weekly. Board meetings, via Zoom, are met with angry and desperate parents who fight for normalcy in a situation that hasn’t been normal for months. This is certainly to be expected when parents need to work to make ends meet and can’t leave young children home alone, yet it is hard for families to have comfort in sending kids into a classroom where their safety is questionable.
Teachers are sounding off too, their own health and the health of their families are at risk. They want to teach but teaching right now could be a matter of life and health and at the worst, death. Digging ever deeper into their pockets to enact creative ways to protect themselves and students when the doors open again. It’s simply disheartening.
Often overlooked and ill-considered are the thoughts and emotions of the kids themselves. Longing for a system they have come to understand, yearning for the structure of school, desperate for friends and social activities, they seem to suffer the most. There are ways to help them cope and make these troubling times easier for them. Review the
Six SEVEN C’s to develop your own School Closure Support System at home.
- CARE – Listen to your kids. Give them the space to talk about their feelings about the pandemic and school closures. They miss their friends and the fun things about school. They had no closure for the 2019-20 school year (imagine a lost-at-sea scenario). They need to be free to talk and be heard. Remove your own feelings about the whole situation and really focus on caring about their feelings.
- CONFIRM – Let your kids know that you hear them and that you understand. Confirm and validate their feelings. Leave the doors open as their feelings may change over time. They need to know that their feeling are validated by you and that kid problems are important too.
- CONSOL – Offer a shoulder to cry on or be a sounding board. As you allow them the space to rant you should also try to comfort them. The school closures are a loss for them (like losing a job). Help them by consoling their losses. We can all use a little sympathy during these times.
- CONDITION – Let the kids know what’s happening and why. Help them understand the facts about Covid-19 and how and why we stay safe. Model behaviors that will keep them and yourself safe so that they become the norm. Pull back on summer activity (sleeping in, late nights, video games) as you prepare for school (whatever it may look like). Remind children that school is still important and that you expect them to try their hardest and do their best. Condition yourself as well. Time management and creativity are key. Reach out to other parents to build a network of help during school closures.
- CALM – School at home does not look the way it does on campus. Relax. As long as they are attending online class meetings, checking in, completing work and turning it in they are learning what they would have in the classroom. Actual instruction time in the classroom only encompasses a small fraction of a 6-8 hour school day. It is unreasonable to expect a 6-8 hour school day at home. Fill their day with other fun and enriching activities: learn new things together (a new language, how to bake bread, engineering, and science projects free online). Anxiety is contagious, stay calm, communicate with teachers and counselors at the school and remember your own self-care.
- CONTEMPLATE – Look forward to what the future holds. Make future plans with your children. Think about the future and how things have changed and how they might look in the future. Assure them that things are still changing and help them to see the silver lining. Make a family or individual vision boards. See what good things you can look forward to and try to connect what’s happening now to what has been unexpectedly good about our current circumstance. A negative outlook is easily altered by a change in perspective. Let your positivity blossom in your family.
- CONNECT – Staying socially connected is important for mental wellness. Parents can help children stay connected to family and friends via video chats, text messaging, phone calls, and drive-by visits. Sharing time with others brings some normalcy into our lives and the lives of others. You can brighten everyone’s day as you connect to the outside world.
Together we will get through this. Stay strong, love on one another and stay safe.
Families Achieving Success longs to offer support, referrals and resources to families in need. If you need help paying bills, getting food, medical or mental health issues reach out to us for our resource support.