As schools prepare for on-campus classes for the first time since March, students may be feeling a bit anxious due to the pandemic's uncertainty.
"With temperature checks, wearing masks, socially distancing, reimagined classroom settings, etc., things are going to look a bit different on campus for a while," shares Greg Graber, Lausanne's Director of Social and Emotional Learning.
To help support students with these changes, Lausanne's Social and Emotional Learning Advisory Committee, comprised of mental health and medical professionals, met to discuss ways to support emotional well-being during these uncertain times.
Here are a few recommendations based on those discussions:
- Permission to feel. One way to validate children emotionally is to ask them how they feel and take the time to listen to what they say. We can give them "permission to feel" what they are feeling. We can let them know that there is no right or wrong way for them to feel during these trying times; simply lending an ear helps.
- Provide a nurturing environment where self-care is the main priority. We can take better care of the children in our lives by taking care of ourselves as well. They mimic what we do. We can set a good example by engaging in self-care activities and rituals with them.
- Structure and Predictability. Children intrinsically crave structure and predictability. Their worlds are upside down right now because their schedules have been uprooted. Anything that we can do to keep their routines as structured as possible will help them cope better with the current situation.
- Provide Students With "Calming" Resources. Offering these types of resources will not only destress them, but it will also teach them crucial emotional regulation skills over time.
- Writing it Down. Journaling is a great way to help organize our thoughts, and sometimes it can be a wonderfully therapeutic practice. Also, getting children into the habit of writing daily is a good thing.
- This is temporary. Being honest with children lets them know that this is a difficult time, but it will pass, and teaches them how to be resilient in tough times. It also gives them hope and reinforces the belief that difficult situations are temporary. There is no "new normal."
- Talk to their counselors. Each division has a mental health professional on staff. Encourage your child to utilize school counselors when needed.
- Polarized Belief Systems. We are living in times of competing polarized belief systems, especially during an election year. Most news is fear-based. It is helpful if we monitor the time our children watch the news. Spending an excessive amount of time watching the news and consuming social media heightens anxiety.
- Get children outside and moving. It is beneficial for their bodies and their brains. Taking a walk around the block with your child opens up the lines of communication and re-energizes them.
"Utilizing these tips can help students navigating life during the Covid-19 pandemic regulate their emotions and cope with the stress of living in an accelerated culture," shares Graber. "It helps them build skills they'll use for their entire lives."
That's why Lausanne has developed SEL programs for students across divisions that can be facilitated in-person and virtually that help students grow their social and emotional resiliency. Learn more about their program at lausanneschool.com/SEL