Should I Worry About My Child?
The Emotional Impact of the Pandemic on Learning and Social Development in Students K - 12
We are sharing the main takeaways from our recent webinar so that both participants and non-participants benefit from insights regarding the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning and social/emotional development of children. The topics that were discussed included:
● Understanding typical versus atypical learning and emotional behavior
● How to assess our children’s emotional well-being during COVID
● How to assess our children’s learning needs during COVID
● What to do when intervention is warranted
● How to support the entire family’s wellness
The significant points discussed during this webinar included:
1. During these times, regression is on everyone’s mind, and it is not unusual to see changes in children’s behavior that you might have expected to see up to three years ago. In times of stress, our regulatory systems shut down, so this could present as:
Disengaging from activities they once enjoyed
2. Students may struggle with learning where they didn’t before, and a parent may wonder whether that struggle is because of the pandemic or if their child needs an evaluation. Learning differences begin presenting themselves early in life, so it is unusual for them to manifest in later years.
3. It is important to remember that schools are responsible for providing students access to learning. If your child has learning differences, and their needs aren’t being met, we can help you think through your resources, and how to advocate for your children in the school.
4. In times of stress, the prefrontal cortex, the area that helps us plan, shuts down. To provide stability in these uncertain and shifting circumstances, establishing structures and routines will help quell anxiety. It is very important to make life as predictable as possible:
Include your child in the discussion establishing these routines, being sure to include expectations for behavior - such as showing up on time for online class - and expectations and/or limits for screen use. Incorporate rewards for meeting those expectations and make sure your response is consistent with respect to those expectations.
Map out and preview these routines two or three days in advance, with the understanding that plans change, and it’s okay if they do.
5. Despite the circumstances and learning environments, some schools are maintaining pre-COVID expectations, which can put a lot of pressure on students. Students’ mental and emotional health are paramount to academic considerations.
The goal is to have students continue to read, write, and maintain their curiosity.
Social interaction and connection are important, so it is important to seek out ways to make those connections in ways that feel safe to you.
6. Parents need to remember they are not alone. Speak to others about your situation and concerns about your child, and you will find others who share the same concerns or who have suggestions for areas to seek support.
7. There is an increased need for prevention and treatment of psychological stress and distress. Early identification and intervention for mental health challenges allows students to improve healthy coping strategies, while maintaining their social, emotional, and academic functioning. Educators are in a unique position to identify early warning signs that indicate a student will benefit from mental health support.
It is always a pleasure to assist you and your family with the learning and development process. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. We can be reached at 212-426-3742 or firstname.lastname@example.org.