With many schools remaining online, this year's back to school season is unlike any other. Anxiety is in the air as parents struggle juggling work and remote learning while teens are struggling to learn effectively. A recent survey showed 42% of high school students are feeling lonelier than before COVID-19 and 56% are afraid of not being able to keep up with school work from home.
New school years are often a chance for families to reset their cadence, set new goals, and build some healthy habits. We're sharing 4 tips to help navigate and prepare for the upcoming school year, despite the uncertainties:
Tip #1: PLAN YOUR TIME AND STUDY SPACE
One of the biggest obstacles of working and studying from home is the lack of structure. There is no mental and physical distinction between the home and school environment, which makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. Planning out a weekly schedule and setting specific study areas provide a sense of control and mental boundaries that will help get students into flow. Scheduling clear blocks of time for schoolwork, physical activities, family meals, social time, and sleep will help your teen keep things in balance. When setting up your teen's study space, go for low-traffic areas -- but not their bedroom. Studying in the same space where they sleep negatively impacts your teen's sleep quality.
Tip #2: DISCUSS SCHEDULES AND BOUNDARIES WITH OTHERS
Sharing space with others can lead to distractions or temptations to socialize. Try implementing morning meetings with your teen to practice setting boundaries. Use the time to update each other about your schedules for the day and what time of day you'll need a quiet space for video calls. Everyone in the family should share to establish respect for each other's schedule.
Sharing this info with the rest of the family will not only help avoid unwanted situations like walking into an important call, it'll also be a great chance to build rituals into your day where you can connect as a family. Bonus points if you take time to eat breakfast together and discuss what you're looking forward to in the day.
Tip #3: STAY CONNECTED WITH SCHOOL CONTACTS
Social interaction is important during these times to fight off loneliness and establish a sense of belonging. In fact, a study shows 71% of students who prefer face-to-face learning felt that a lack of community is one of the biggest challenges in taking class online.
Many teachers are offering office hours; encourage your teen to reach out and connect with their teachers to discuss school work and remote learning tips. This is great practice for college, where students are expected to utilize office hours to make the most of their academic experience. To build further accountability and socializing into their day, you can suggest remote (or socially distanced, outdoors) study groups to your teen.
Tip #4: PRACTICE SELF-CARE
If self-care is new to your teen, take some time to discuss physical and mental health. Ask your teen about what physical and mental well-being look like for them, and how they might be able to practice self-care even when the world is extra stressful and physical facilities (school gyms or basketball courts) are closed. If your teen is at a loss, you can suggest some self-care practices they might practice adopting into their daily schedule: mindful walking, outdoor sports, pre-bed time stress relief time, and journaling.
We hope you found these tips helpful in preparing your teen for a successful back to school season. If you’re interested in a personal parenting coach with Cherish, please sign up! We are also currently offering FREE coaching and curated parent groups throughout COVID-19. Click here to sign up for our free resources!
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