By Grace Kim, Resident in Counseling
The new school year has just begun for many students in numerous districts and it’s looking quite different from previous years. Instead of returning to the classroom, students have been staying home and doing distance and virtual learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many kids have been met with mixed emotions at the thought of not returning to school and seeing their friends and teachers. Some may be relieved to be staying safe at home, while others may be dreading the thought of having classes online. This significant change can bring out feelings of disappointment, anxiety and stress.
School is the primary source of kids’ social lives and represents the space for self-expression. Without this regular social interaction, children and teens may feel isolation without being able to see their friends and teachers in person. Older teens who are in the developmental phase of establishing independence and forming relationships with peers may struggle with balancing these relationships while at home.
Participating in online classes may present its own unique challenges. Some kids may experience anxiety around keeping up with peers or struggle with concentrating and staying focused. Other kids may feel self-conscious being front and center on a computer screen.
How To Help Your Child
Virtual and distance learning is a challenge we are all facing together and you are not alone. There are several ways you can help your child navigate the transition:
- Establish a routine—Creating a routine and structure can help your child feel a sense of
- Create a designated workspace—Creating a space to complete schoolwork can minimize
distractions and help with boundaries.
- Keep them connected—Schedule virtual play dates, video chats or phone calls! Social
interaction plays an important role in your child’s development of interpersonal skills and emotional
- Talk it out—Listening and talking to your child will help your child feel comfortable and open
up more about their questions and concerns.
- Play—Make sure you leave time for your kids to play, have fun and just enjoy being kids!
- Practice healthy habits—Sleep, nutrition and exercise are more important than ever right now.
- Practice mindfulness—Mindfulness and meditation aren’t just for adults. Mindfulness can reduce anxiety and boost happiness for kids at each developmental stage. When kids feel anxious or overwhelmed, practicing mindfulness can help them feel more rooted in the present.
Everyone is learning to adapt to the pandemic in their own ways. If you are still concerned about your child’s mental health, we recommend reaching out to provide your child with a professional to talk to.
About Grace Kim:
Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Woodbridge location and is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Master of Arts Degree with high honors in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University.
With extensive experience in providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents and young adults, she also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and with the help of those around her, she has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. Grace believes she is still growing, learning and in some ways, healing and wants to work with individuals to provide the hope and support she was given in her darkest times. Grace recognizes the barriers and restrictions that minority cultures often face when dealing with mental health issues. It is Grace’s passion to work with such individuals of various minority backgrounds to confront these challenges and experience breakthrough and acceptance. Grace is ready and willing to work with you or your child to explore any latent issues and improve your daily functioning in a healthy way. To learn more about Grace, visit HERE.