The resurgence of COVID-19 may have knocked the new school year out of wack, but our Cohen Clinic's Case Manager, Ashley Tatum, who is a veteran, active duty military spouse and mom, has a few tips to help military children and parents prepare for the start of a not-so-typical classroom setting.
- Think outside the box. Going to school online lets you set up your child’s classroom wherever it works for you. Some children will function best at the dining room table, free of distractions. Some will do better in their room where they can have music playing in the background or even the family dog sitting nearby.
- You may find that your child thrives in this learning environment. Once anxious children will find that distance learning relieves them of the pressures a classroom can cause such as not feeling confident in answering questions, not having the ‘coolest’ clothes/phone/haircut etc. If you notice this, mention it to your child. Your family may consider distance learning even once schools open.
- Not everyone is most productive first thing in the morning. Distance learning allows you and your child the flexibility to work on more challenging assignments when they are more focused.
- Encourage your child to take breaks from learning. In a more traditional school setting, they would be having PE, art, music etc to break up their day. Even for the younger kids, just transitioning from one classroom to the next gives their minds a break to regroup.
- Try to get the family involved. Get outside for some physical activity, check out Pinterest for some easy art projects and try listening to a new genre of music.
- Find ways to be involved in their work. Check in regularly with your child and their teachers, see where they are struggling and where they are thriving. Praise your child and support them when it is needed.
- Many of the things kids learn in the classroom setting can be applied in real life. Ask what they are discussing in science and try to incorporate into something you can do together-a cooking experiment, a chemical reaction demonstration etc.
- Be flexible. As we all know, technology can be a great way to conduct business, but it can be unreliable at times. Zoom calls freeze, internet connectivity goes down. Please be patient and be willing to roll with the punches. This is also a chance to show our children how to handle stressful situations with grace.
- Reach out to your child’s teacher if you or your child feels overwhelmed. And please be kind to school staff, they love educating your child and are trying their best. This situation isn’t ideal for many of us but remember, we are all trying the best we can!
And finally, remember that our clinic is available to help you through these uncertain times. Feel free to contact us for therapy or resources anytime!