Let’s start with this: the 2020-2021 school year is going to be unlike anything we have ever experienced before. As parents, we cannot help but wonder how this is all going to work with kids learning online at least until November in Oregon cities like Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Tigard. Anxiety was already high for so many students and parents with the upcoming school year (CLICK HERE to get some tips on freedom from anxiety), but there are things we can do to make the best of a challenging situation. You do have some control over how you want this school year to look, and below are four tips to help you and your student make the best of this school year situation:
Tip #1 — Practice Flexibility:
Things are changing quickly and none of it is easy to accept. Remaining psychologically flexible — remaining in the present moment while acknowledging the emotions or feelings of the circumstances — can help one’s mental health. Focus on the things that you can control, be flexible with things you cannot. It will go easier for you, as the parent, as well as your child.
Tip #2 — Create a Study Zone:
Partner with your child(ren) in creating a corner of the house that is the place to go to school or study. Help decorate it in the style of your child’s choosing. Desk and chair. Be interested in your child’s choices of décor (not judgmental). More of a “That’s an interesting choice for a desk lamp. What was it that drew you in?”
Tip #3 — Create a Comfort Zone:
Meltdowns are going to happen during this school year. First, remember to practice flexibility. Remember that your child is going through a lot of emotional stuff with this pandemic, too. Much like the “study zone,” carve out a niche in the house that can be around for comfort. A cozy blanket. Maybe a beanbag chair or two. Definitely some nutritious snacks (stash some away for yourself, as well).
Tip #4 — Co-Create Expectations and Plan Before School Year Starts:
Sit down with your child and map out the daily schedule. Make sure to give them space to participate. Write those agreed to expectations down on a poster and hang it somewhere prominently in the house (be sure to include that it is okay to be emotional or upset about the circumstances on the list somewhere). While modeling flexibility for your child is important, it is also helpful for them to have some order in their life. Order and consistency can create a sense of safety. We all learn better when we feel safe and know the expectations.
It is a situation that is not ideal for anyone, but you do have some say in how this school year is going to go for you and your child. Begin practicing flexibility, create spaces specifically for study and one to provide comfort, and start thinking through what the daily schedule is going to look like…allowing for flexibility within that schedule when days call for it.
Wellspace Counseling is located in Tualatin, Oregon and serves the cities of Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Tigard and others in the Greater Portland Metro Area. To find more information about Wellspace Counseling visit at www.wellspacepdx.com.