Your Child’s Mental Wellness and
Attending school remotely is a new experience for all of us. That means that there will be some inevitable road bumps and curveballs for parents, teachers, and students to manage. And while it may feel like everything about learning has changed, what hasn’t changed is the importance of relationships. What follows are some tips on working through the tech challenges and nurturing that all-important connection between your child and their teacher.
Help your child to understand that there will be challenges.
Mastering new tech tools means working through some inevitable hiccups and frustrations. It’s simply not realistic to expect everything to work like clockwork every single day—not when the technology is new to all of us and our Internet infrastructure is carrying such a heavy load.
You can work to minimize any tech anxiety your child may be experiencing by helping them come up with a plan for dealing with any unexpected glitches. It’s a good idea to come up with this plan ahead of time, as opposed to trying to brainstorm solutions in the moment when everyone’s feeling stressed.
- Find out what kinds of supports are available to you and your child through your child’s school or school board.
- Consider what additional forms of support might be available to your child: for example, the ability to seek help from a friend or family member who is particularly tech savvy.
- Help your child to familiarize themselves with the features and functions of their learning platform. If age appropriate, ensure that they know how to perform basic tasks like submitting their work, uploading a file, sharing a photo, and so on. It’s much easier to master these skills when you’re able to practice them at a relaxed pace. You might also consider creating a tip sheet or checklist to guide your child through any tasks that they find particularly complicated or confusing.
Remind your child that they aren’t the only one finding this hard.
You don’t want your child to assume that everyone else in the class is finding this easy and that they are the only one who is struggling. Odds are that’s simply not the case. Encourage your child to compare notes with some of their classmates and share some of your own experiences working through frustrating situations involving technology. You were frustrated, you persevered, and suddenly it wasn’t that hard any more….
- Help your child to figure out what is and isn’t working: what they’ve figured out and what they’re still finding hard about remote learning.
- Encourage your child to communicate with their teacher. The teacher needs to know what is and isn’t working for your child. Your child might find it easier to open up about their struggles if you let them know that other kids are experiencing these same kinds of challenges; and that the more everyone communicates with the teacher about their struggles, the easier it will be for the teacher to make things better for everyone.
- Don’t expect your child to work through these kinds of tech challenges quickly, easily, or on their own. Have realistic expectations of your child—and be ready to step in with the necessary support.
Recognize that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to online learning.
Not only does every child engage with learning in their own unique way. Teachers are having to develop a whole new set of skills in order to engage students in online learning. The situation is really challenging for everyone. The good news is that you, as the parent, have an important opportunity to support this learning behind the scenes.
- Help your child’s teacher to get a sense of who your child is as a person. Knowing what types of topics, activities, and subjects are particularly interesting for your child may make it easier for the teacher to engage your child remotely.
- Let your child’s teacher know if you have concerns about your child’s level of engagement. Look for opportunities to both identify the source of the problem and to propose some possible solutions.
You Don’t Have to Do This Alone.
Find your closest child and youth mental health centre.