Worldwide, lives are stressed and strained by COVID-19.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the lives of students, teachers and parents who are engaged in online learning today.
As schools adapt to online learning, the workload and the learning load of adopting a new delivery mode is taking a huge toll on the lives of teachers, students and parents.
While there are some students who are thriving through online learning, the toll of the virus, isolation, increased workloads and other associated effects are rising among many other students and teachers. It must not be underestimated. Every institution must address these challenges that threaten the well-being of its students and teachers.
Too often we separate the consideration of mental health from physical health. These two are deeply interrelated. The mental and emotional pressures teachers and students may be experiencing can be expressed in deteriorated physical health. Anxiety and stress can lower immunity, subjecting people to illness, and not just the common cold.
So, how can parents continue to support their children to improve their well-being and continue their studies remotely?
1. Make sure your child stays connected
Make a point of making your child connect with their classmates and friends. Consider a small online study or reading group in addition to school time, and, where possible, make it a video chat. Seeing familiar faces makes a big impact on the mood.
2. Structure your child’s routine
Staying on top of getting ready in the morning can help your child start their day refreshed and get them into a more productive mindset – it also prepares them for any unexpected video chats! Set daily goals, make sure they eat at regular times, get consistent sleep, and most importantly, separate study time from personal time. During class and study hours, try to make sure they are in the studying mindset, but allow them to take breaks as needed.
3. Keep moving
Exercising can significantly lower anxiety levels, and boost serotonin – and there are plenty of ways to exercise at home. From simple stretching throughout the day to morning exercises or just a quick solo dance party can get your child’s energy flowing and help them feel refreshed without going anywhere.
Spending time in nature is also sometimes referred to as ‘ecotherapy’ because it can lower blood pressure and stress hormones.
4. Make sure your child takes time to switch off
Studying remotely can blur the line between home and academic life, making it hard for them to disconnect from school-related tasks at the end of the day. Make them take a clean break from the schoolwork at the end of the day so that they can enjoy more leisurely activities.
With ever-changing news and social media updates, it may also be helpful to reach for a mindfulness app instead of social apps. Some helpful and easy to use apps include Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer.
5. Try to be a support system for your child
Healthy relationships with family, friends and loved ones are vital to mental wellbeing during this time. Be sure to check in with them on a regular basis.
If doing classes remotely is leaving children feeling stressed, they are not alone. It’s completely normal to feel anxiety when spending more time away from others than they are used to, especially with everything that’s going on right now.
“In order to create an engaging learning experience, the role of instructor is optional, but the role of learner is essential.” – Bernard Bull