Supporting students’ social needs during Distance Learning and beyond
Starting the year in Distance Learning has been a challenge our entire community is rising to meet together. It has been a joy to see how our students have connected with teachers and friends again. Their smiles are contagious and their energy is high!
Many parents wrote to us about this social connection in the first week of school, sharing their enthusiasm (and relief!) at how happy their children are to see their friends again.
Naturally, parents worry about how they can keep kids connected during isolation, and build their social and emotional skills while dealing with the fears of too much screen time and months of not interacting with peers in person. While distance learning is not equal to in-person socialization, it does bring social opportunities, especially for kids who have felt lonely or disconnected over the school break.
But many parents are asking us, “What more can we do to support our kids socially and emotionally at home?”. Here are a few recommended tips to support your children at home:
Tip #1: Try (Virtual) Teamwork or Play
Supervised online playdates, game nights, and social events using technology platforms can get kids collaborating together and playing online.
Tip #2: Daily Check-Ins
Checking in with daily conversations, journaling, or writing to name feelings and talk about what kids like about the specific people they miss is one way to connect offline.
Tip #3: Validate Your Child’s Feelings
Acknowledging children’s’ feelings with statements such as, ‘I know this must be hard for you,’ helps children feel seen, heard and understood.
Tip #4: Add an Activity
Helping your child research or explore a new hobby, passion, or idea to learn online outside of schoolwork can generate excitement for new interests.
Tip #5: Get Kids to Talk!
Guiding children to talk about how they are feeling and helping to name and identify emotions gives a sense of control and teaches children they are capable of managing their emotions.
Tip #6: Foster Independence
Help your child gain confidence in their growing independence, encouraging them to come up with strategies for combating social isolation together. Praise your child’s newly developed abilities in distance learning and connecting with peers.
While social isolation is a challenge for everyone, children are remarkably adaptable and resilient. Together, parents and school community members need to be vigilant in observing the expected behavioral changes and difficulties children might be having during this time.
Finding intentional ways to support children to build their core social and emotional skills at home is possible at home with parents, siblings, pets, or new ways of connecting with peers online. Making time for these experiences is a fantastic way of supporting students’ social and emotional development, in partnership with what we are doing at EARJ in terms of community, connection, and confidence this year.
Interested in reading more?
Barra Lower School Principal