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Easing Distance Learning Stress

The bell has rung, but the classroom is now your living room.  Being a parent can be stressful enough, add in the elements of virtual learning many parents face now due to physical distancing guidelines and fears surrounding COVID-19, and you may find yourself playing hall monitor and teacher all while juggling your career or other responsibilities as well. The prospects of all that entails such as ensuring your child is truly receiving the instruction they need and whether or not you’re up to the task can be overwhelming and, quite frankly, scary.  Thankfully, there are things you can do to alleviate that stress, cut yourself a break and ensure success for both you and your child.

Tip#1:  Stay calm, you got this

“Easier said than done, no doubt, but remembering that these are exceptional times can go a long way towards easing your stress,” Julie Adams, lead clinician at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic suggested. “Try not to exasperate the situation by believing it is solely your job to homeschool your child. Your child’s teachers are available and instructing, you are your child’s cheerleader and coach and you always have been.”

Tip#2:  Be flexible in order to find what works best

“Schedules and routines are proven to be helpful for children whether taking part in distance learning or not,” Steven Sellars, Cohen Clinic at Centerstone therapist said. “However, in times like these, go easy on yourself. Every day may not go according to plan and that’s okay too. Ensuring your child feels safe, supported and encouraged to do their best is far more important than a perfectly scheduled day.”

Tip #3: Meet meltdowns with empathy

“Kids don’t always know how to express themselves,” licensed clinical therapist Leahanna McDonald said. “You may notice your child claims to be throwing a temper tantrum over an assignment, however, it may actually be that they miss their friends. Try making a list of coping mechanisms such as petting the dog or getting up for a few minutes to walk outside, and referring to that list when things get difficult. Once calmed, dealing with the problem can become much clearer and teaches your child basic coping skills that are invaluable in the long run.”

Bottom line, these are unprecedented times, our lives, in many cases, are being affected greatly.  There are new stressors and challenges, but you’ve faced challenges before and can adapt again. Supporting and caring for your child is your strong suit. Understand each day will be unique, be kind to yourself and your child, together, you got this!

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