In challenging times, it can be easy to dwell on the negatives — especially as an educator trying to navigate this new remote world. Of course, it’s okay to mourn the loss of normalcy and have concerns for the future, but as we head into the holiday season, focusing more on what we can control can lead to a greater sense of gratitude and positivity.
Gratitude alone won’t end this situation but taking the time to pause, reflect, and generally be more mindful can result in a much-needed mental health boost. Leading by this example, we can also inspire those who look to us for guidance, such as our children and students, and help them find tangible ways to succeed during this unprecedented moment in time.
Build a Strong Foundation
While remote learning hasn’t been a cakewalk for anyone — teachers, parents, and students alike — we can be grateful that it has also presented the opportunity to dial in on internet safety.
For parents working from home alongside their children, there’s at least more oversight and availability to help troubleshoot issues. Remote learning has also allowed teachers to better underline the importance of internet safety and help students exercise essential safety practices throughout the school year.
There can be a lot of anxieties around kids jumping headfirst into the online world while remote or hybrid learning. Granted, many of us are feeling grateful that throughout this ongoing crisis, kids have still been able to connect with one another and continue learning, but many educators still have some concern in regards to kids’ online safety.
We may not be able to filter and control everything our kids come across on the internet, but we can use this time as a chance to implement kid-centered online safety tips like setting boundaries for their non-school screen time.
This year has been one of instability. It’s been unstable for adults, many of whom have lost their jobs or for those who have had to start working from home after years in an office or school. Not to mention, kids and parents are now sharing work and school spaces as everyone goes online.
All this tension is creating anxieties that weren’t there before. Lots of adults are coping by eating, drinking, and working out. But how are kids coping? One of the best ways to help kids cope with pandemic related anxiety is to ensure they have structure in their lives. This can involve their schooling, off-screen time, and outside activities.
Reconnect with Mother Nature
With the return of many restrictions to help battle COVID-19, including social distancing, self-isolation, and limited socializing, getting outside may be more important than ever for us. Sticking with healthy habits, such as enjoying more of Mother Nature, is a great remedy for kids and adults alike.
Spending more time outdoors is a great way for kids to decompress. It also gives them a much-needed break from the strict — mostly indoors — structure they have had to acclimate to. Spending time in nature can also help refresh their creativity and executive functions, which might have taken a hit with the sudden increase with remote learning. Set aside time each day and encourage kids to take a quick walk around the neighborhood, rake up a pile of leaves, or even play a game outside before it gets too cold. Also, bring up the importance of taking time to reflect and appreciate the outdoors. A lot has changed this year, but at least we can still turn to nature to help us feel better, escape from the chaos for a bit, and recharge.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Considering how quickly our everyday lives drastically changed this year, many of us are regretting all those times we passed up an invite to a social gathering or skipped an event. While we all miss our pre-COVID-19 lives , one positive to consider, particularly as we near the holiday all about thankfulness, is our ability to develop a greater sense of appreciation.
As we look towards the future, when one day this will all be over, the gratitude we’ll have for every hug, birthday party, and loud classroom will likely be much different than anything we’ve felt in the past. This goes for kids and students as well. While we aren’t able to accelerate our time spent in this difficult situation, we can take a moment each day to reflect on the things we miss, the things we look forward to, and of course, the things we’re grateful for.