Some institutions in our society help keep us grounded. Perhaps the most central of these is school. It provides a place for children to learn and grow academically and socially.

In between math and English class are moments to catch up with friends, for example, or to play together at recess.

However, with the pandemic this year in 2020 that we know as COVID-19, how we educate children in our country has changed — like a lot of other things. This change wasn’t slow. It happened at a startlingly fast speed, making it hard for kids to adapt to all of these changes.

Adjusting to new ways of doing things is challenging for kids (and for adults as many juggle remote school and working from home), but there’s a lot you can do to help them cope as school changes amid our public health crisis.

The Challenges of Online Learning during COVID-19

Almost all children will experience some form of online learning this year. They might be 100% remote, taking all of their classes online. Maybe their district has a hybrid model where they are online some days and other days physically in school.

Girl with mask and backpack | teen therapist in Columbus | Blue Boat Counseling | online therapy for teens | November 2020

Either way, this new format is stressful. There is the loss of being able to see their friends every day, face-to-face. The same can be said for the teacher, too. A teacher’s presence is really important for your child’s development. Plus, teachers are overwhelmed, trying to juggle remote learners and in-class students.

Consider that your child might feel angry because they can’t be with people they care about. They might feel frustrated about online learning. It might be too hard or not challenging enough to meet their needs.

Returning to the Classroom during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Most states, including Ohio, have set some guidelines for returning physically to the school building. Some students are returning to the classroom for in-person instruction. Yet, that’s going to look very different. Classrooms will have fewer students. Schools are trying to “pod” groups of students together to reduce exposure and contain a possible outbreak.

Naturally, this approach means little opportunity to interact with friends outside of the pod. Also, there may be new cleaning and sanitizing procedures, not to mention the requirement to wear a mask. All this is uncomfortable and intimidating, causing plenty of stress.

How to Help Your Child Cope with School Changes Due to COVID-19

Whether it’s online learning, in-person instruction, or a combination of the two, there are several ways you can help your child cope, such as:

  • Ask your child to talk about their feelings openly.
  • Listen to them, be attentive and let them know that it’s ok to feel those feelings and that they’re not alone. This is all new for everyone.

Mom and daughter talking | online counseling for teens in Ohio | Blue Boat Counseling | anxiety therapist in Columbus | 2020

  • Practice together with the skills they need to stay safe (i.e., wear a mask, properly wash their hands, being mindful of their distance between others, etc.).
  • Make things fun! Turn social distancing into a game, make funny faces while wearing masks, get them some fun hand sanitizers for their backpack, etc.
  • Reassure your child that everyone, including you, wants to keep your child safe and healthy.

When in doubt, contact your child’s teachers or school for additional resources. Most likely, they have already been flooding your email inbox with lots of information about what the school year will look like and how to answer your child’s questions.

Mental Health Therapy Is Available When You Need More Help

Even with all of your love, caring, and resources at your disposal, you and your child might need additional help. There are a lot of emotions going on for everybody regarding school. Both you and your child need a healthy and emotionally safe environment to let things out and process.

Thankfully, therapy can help. It gives you each a chance to share your feelings. It’s also a place to ask questions and release the frustration about how this year is going, in general.

Sad girl on laptop | online mental health therapy in Columbus | depression therapist in Columbus | Blue Boat Counseling

Online Therapist in Columbus Ohio

School is one of the foundations that make our society function and thrive. It’s supposed to be a special place where children can go not only to learn as students but grow as human beings.

It’s frustrating not having school the way it used to be while we do our best to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. However, you can help your child through this challenging time. If you’re worried about the effects of the pandemic on your child’s mental health, please reach out for help.  Blue Boat Counseling offers online therapy for teens and families living in the state of Ohio.  Contact us today to schedule an online appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. We’re here to help.