As schools across the nation turn to distance learning and homeschooling due to the coronavirus, parents find themselves taking on additional, often unexpected, roles. How can families best navigate this new dynamic? What are the best ways to deal with this shared coronavirus stress?
Communication Is Key
Now, more than ever as family dynamics are evolving and changing, sometimes on a daily basis.
Allison Wilson, Senior Director of Curriculum & Innovation, Stratford School tells Parentology, “Family dynamics have changed in that we are together most of the time, all while trying to balance work and distance learning for our children. Now more than ever, communication is important to express needs with your partner and children.”
Setting clear expectations will help everyone in your family feel comfortable as roles and learning environments shift and change. In keeping with this is the importance of communicating to children what they can expect, as well as what’s expected of them.
Routines Rule When Alleviating Coronavirus Stress
Children thrive on routine. In this tumultuous time, the more familiarity you can offer them, the more smoothly they’ll be able to transition. Work with your children to create a schedule that helps them structure their day.
Challenge Success, an organization focused on the emotional and academic success of students throughout the nation offers a “PDF” model to help structure your child’s day during this time. Research has concluded that no matter what their age, kids all need playtime, downtime and family time every day.
Playtime consists of unstructured play where kids can play games or exercise for fun. Downtime should also be unstructured and allow time for children to relax, reflect or just be—a practice that has proven essential in both physical and emotional well-being. Family time can be as simple as having a meal together or playing a game.
According to Challenge Success, “Research shows that when kids are part of a family unit that spends time together, they are more likely to feel supported, safe, and loved unconditionally, as well as have increased self-esteem and better academic outcomes.”
Emotional Health First
Focusing on your child’s emotional health by ensuring your child feels safe and secure in their changing environment is the first priority as families transition to a remote learning environment.
“Research around effective learning connects back to meeting social and emotional needs first,” Wilson says. “Trust that you’re doing your best, connect with your child, check in on their well-being, then focus on schoolwork.”
Coronavirus Stress: Sources
Allison Wilson, Senior Director of Curriculum & Innovation, Stratford School