By Janani Buford, Director of Middle School Counseling
As we approach the reality that we have been in this pandemic for almost a full year, I want to offer some perspective and resources. The way our children (and all of us) are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely varied. Some kids LOVE it and are thriving. Many, however, are fatigued with the longevity of this reality we are in. We are all fatigued with this lifestyle. COVID fatigue is REAL. And parenting fatigue is real, too.
Below are some helpful coping strategies to consider:
TALK. For some, just venting about the difficulties of this world is enough. People—all of us!—need to feel like our feelings are valid. It may be our instinct to say “yes, I feel that way too, but we need to cope with it.” That is true, but a little dismissive. Start with “I hear you, I know, it’s hard for me too. What’s the hardest for you?” Talk about it.
ASK. Ask them what helps. “What brings you joy?” “What helps you to feel connected?” “What is the best part of your day?” You may be surprised at what they share!
MOVE. Move your body. If they resist this, go for a walk with them. Bring those bikes down from the attic. Dance. Play a video game with them where you have to stand up and move around if that is what they love.
SLEEP. I can’t say this with statistical certainty, but I have heard many stories from students who are up “‘til midnight on their phone.” Parents, we have all perhaps become a little slack about enforcing that phones charge downstairs. And yes, our middle school kids get to sleep in every other day, but a consistent bedtime is KEY.
RELAX. This one is tougher because everyone is different. Some kids relax by physical exercise—maybe your child is in their best mood ever after sweating it out in your driveway with a basketball. But, maybe your kids relax with music. A bath. Meditation. Yoga. Drawing. Whatever it is, find what it is for your kid (and for you, too). If they insist it is video games, then I encourage a compromise—they can have their screen time for X minutes, but they need to come up with something non-screen related as well.
Organizational Tips and Reminders for Remote Learning Days
(submitted by Ginna Clute and Laura Hayes, ERP department)
- If at all possible, have your child’s schoolwork space outside of their bedroom. If you need to use the bedroom, then have a space set up in their room that is NOT their bed!
- In between classes get up and stretch and move. Don’t switch to another “screen.”
- Organization: plan at the end of the day what you need for the next day.
- Wear headphones/earbuds when “in class” if space is populated with others.
- Check your e-mail in the morning, during lunch, and at the end of the day. Learn how to flag important messages/write them down.
- Take screenshots of notes.
- Identify an “opposite day” study buddy (if you are an A-Day, have an B-Day friend to text w/ questions - NOT during school)
- At the end of each class, if you still have work to finish, write it down so you don’t forget it.
- Make “clicking submit” part of your work plan.
- Feel free to stand while you attend classes, if that helps.
Article: "Managing Anxiety Around COVID-19: Tips for You and Your School Community"
YouTube video: "Teen Voices: Coping with the Pandemic"
For questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to your appropriate division counselor. In addition to supporting you and your child, we also have contacts with many counselors and therapists in our community and can provide an outside counseling referral.