• Alyssa Frers

Five Ways to Help Your Student Cope with Online School

Updated: Apr 9

Online school has been a new norm for many students over the last year, and has posed a unique set of challenges to students enduring new challenges. These may include feeling "Zoomed out" by video conferencing, having to suddenly develop independent time management skills, coping with lack of social engagement with peers, and missing out on traditional student activities and events. Here are five ways to help your student cope with the stresses of online school.

1) Encourage blocks of time dedicated to enjoyable activities

It can be very difficult to separate work time from relaxation time when school happens at home, and is very much intertwined with daily life. Regardless of your student's workload or outstanding homework, encourage them to take time fully apart from school in which they do not have to manage the stresses of school or video conferencing classes, and can simply engage in enjoyable activities with your support. This may mean encouraging them to take a block of time to play, go outside, watch TV, chat with a friend on the phone, or taking a trip to Target to shop for a new board game. Whatever your student chooses, helping them dedicate specific time for relaxation and enjoyment can help them mitigate the stresses of working from home and finish the school year strong.

2) Validate your student's feelings

Your student may express to your their concerns, stresses, or frustrations with online school; take the time to hear them out and validate their feelings. Express to your student that it makes sense how they're feeling, given the significant transitions, challenges, and missing out that they've experienced this year. Providing your student with an opportunity to voice their thoughts and feelings openly can help them process the challenges they're facing and help them build new emotional skills to communicate those challenges and cope more effectively, with your invaluable support.

3) Help your student establish a routine

Depending on age, encourage your student with an age-appropriate amount of support, to establish and manage their routine by waking at the same time each day, going to class, experiencing enjoyable activities, moving their body, going outside, and shutting down electronics at a certain time. Older students may want to establish their own routines, which can be a healthy form of autonomy, whereas younger students may need greater support around daily routine. Creating a predictable routine at home can help your student cope with the stressors of transition, uncertainty, and unique circumstances by providing them with a "structure" they can lean on.

4) Give your student opportunities for social engagement

Social engagement doesn't have to be extravagant, it can simply be phone calls with friends, small get-togethers at an outdoor location, dedicated family time, or even just spending time with you, face-to-face, engaging in an activity that interests them. Promoting social engagement, relational connectedness, and meaningful communication can help your student cope with virtual learning and regular screen time.

5) Encourage movement

It's easy to sit still in front of a computer when the days are full of Zoom classes and homework. Encourage your student to take regular breaks for movement, even just walking around the home or neighborhood, dancing, biking, YouTube yoga, or whatever else they enjoy. Regular movement can help alleviate stress, and provide an opportunity for your student to break up their day and promote healthy habits.

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