Mary Ruth Cross, MS, MFT, NCC, RPT-S
CEO/Owner Treehouse Family Counseling Services, PC
Travis didn’t want to get out of bed even though his Mom told him it was time to get up and go to school. “I hate school! I don’t want to go online!” Since the shelter in place orders began schools have had to scramble to create online learning platforms that effectively meet the teaching and learning needs of the students.
In play therapy we too have had to shift and change how we do things. Treehouse Family Counseling Services offers both Telemental health sessions and in person sessions to meet the counseling needs of our families. Children and teens are being asked to sit in front of the computer and relate remotely to the teacher and classmates and for many this just isn’t working well. Parents not only have to discipline their children as usual, but they must also police them more closely during the school day to have the necessary outcomes for learning.
What is getting in the way of successful online learning? For some students they have adapted well but there are signs of strains on their socialization. For many others, the lack of social connection is becoming a debilitating part of the school experience. Teachers and therapists alike are trying creative and innovative ways to help youth be successful in this time of virtual learning and experiencing but what can we do to help kids through these troubling times? Here are a few tips to help achieve success and reduce conflicts in the home.
- Create a positive learning space for your child that is all his/her own and has few distractions.
- Have your child get up and go to bed at the same time each day – keep to a regular routine of eating and sleeping – it helps the child get enough rest and be prepared to learn.
- Take breaks outside – play in the backyard at lunch – move your body by running, jumping, skipping, bike riding etc. This helps the child focus later when they must attend to homework or do more online instruction.
- Go outside for 20 minutes every day. Being outside allows the body to naturally absorb vitamins from the sun that help moderate mood.
- Wear “Blue Blocker” glasses to help reduce eye strain and overstimulating the brain when using electronic devices. Blue Light stimulates the brain telling the child they need to stay awake. They then don’t want to get off their device and stay up far longer than is healthy for their developing bodies.
- Try to accomplish tasks a little at a time rather than in one sitting. Children need a lot of variety and stimulation to do things they find difficult or are reluctant to do so breaking down homework or other tasks into smaller sections helps improve positive outcomes.
These are trying times where parents, teachers and students alike are challenged with how to effectively manage online learning. Since COVID-19 there has been an increase in feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, being overwhelmed and overall distressed. You are not alone in trying to have healthy habits and be prepared for the long-term effects of all the stressors of 2020. We are here to help you get unstuck from the stress and chaos that is present in our world today. We offer telemental health sessions as well as in-person sessions. We follow strict CDC protocols for safety for all of our clients and staff. Please call if you would like a free 15 min consultation.