Online schooling has been an option for many R –12 students for the past months especially with the current pandemic, but even in the best of times, a online education comes with significant challenges for parents and students alike. However, during
the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are finding it more stressful than
ever to deal with the hurdles and hiccups of online school.
Experiencing technical difficulties, having limited access to teachers, and worrying about your child’s social development—even as you try to do your own work or responsibilities around the home—may be running you ragged.
If you’re feeling frustrated and not sure how much more you can manage, here are some ways to hang on to your sanity while your child does school online.
Kids aren’t the only ones who need recess. Taking breaks is critical for parents, too. When the stress of your child’s online schooling threatens to overwhelm you, give yourself some space .
If your child is too young to be left alone, take a 15-minute breather in your bedroom or step outside for a few minutes to clear your head, if you’re able. Or, to take a break with your child, try going for a walk, pausing schoolwork for a quick game, or dancing to a favorite song.
listening to calming music,” says psychologist Dr. Nekeshia Hammond, PsyD. “The better you take care of yourself, the more productive and mentally well you are for your children.”
Many online education stressors stem from a lack of communication. Be sure to keep open lines of communication with your partner, your child’s teachers, and school administrators.
If you have a partner, try to work out a schedule to share the load of assisting your child with schoolwork. Meanwhile, speaking up with concerns about your child’s learning style will give teachers better tools to help your child get the most out of online education. Making your voice heard—and getting your questions answered—will keep future frustrations to a minimum.
When you’re feeling aggravated, it can be tempting to take to social media to vent. But rather than express your frustrations en masse, carve out some one-on-one time with a friend.
Even if your friend of choice isn’t a parent, their listening can still be a much-needed support. Choose someone you can trust with your true feelings and don’t hold back
Ask for Help
It’s tough to admit you can’t do it all, but asking for help can make a major difference to your mental health as you navigate online schooling.
“Right now, it is critical to ask for the support that you need to best help your family,” says Hammond. “The support you need may come from a friend, partner, family member, or another close person in your life. Most people want to help, so do not be afraid to accept emotional support, financial resources, and/or childcare help during these challenging times.”
Celebrate the Wins
You’re juggling a lot right now. Regardless of the size of your family or whether you’re working or not, switching to online education for your child is a big change.
While this may bring additional stress, try to focus on the wins, no matter how small. Did your child get a great grade on an assignment? Did your child complete tasks on time? Did you get through a day without losing your cool?
Help Kids Manage Their Stress
In the midst of our own adult anxieties, it’s all too easy to forget that kids are undergoing stresses of their own. The more you can help your child deal with any underlying tension or worries, the smoother online education is likely to be for them (and you).
“Know that your children are stressed too by all the changes, and their brains process stress differently than an adult,” says Hammond. “Many youth are struggling to keep up with all of the changes.
Above all else, children need to know they are supported so make time for more one-on-one conversations to stay close through these changing times. In addition to talking things out with your child, provide a bit of reprieve for them by allowing them to play outdoors or arranging for safe interactions with a friend.
Don’t Take It Out on the Kids
As you manage increased stress levels around online schooling, perhaps the most important principle of all is this: Don’t take it out on your kids. You and your children are in this together. No child deserves any additional anxiety from parents melting down. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is okay.
“Be honest with them that you are doing the best that you can to help them while also balancing multiple roles,” advises Hammond.
Again, when stress gets the better of you, step away from the situation and give yourself a mental “timeout.” Even a few minutes away from the computer screen may give you the mental reset you need to get back to online schooling.
balance between online education and tv time
The longer your child does online education, the more everything about it will become second nature, for the whole family. Gradually, the intensity of the stresses will recede.
In the meantime, if online schooling throws you off your emotional center, practice good self-care, keep communicating, and give yourself some credit for doing your best