May 19 2022
Family Wellbeing While Working and Learning From Home
With all the challenges presented by the current COVID situation, how can our BCIS community of parents, students, educators and admin staff, take care of our own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of those around us? Although the question of managing wellbeing is not easy to answer, it is more important than ever during these difficult times. To help us find some solutions to these problems, we sat down with our expert counseling team to get some practical advice to help you, and the ones around you, stay well and healthy during these trying times. BCIS and its wonderful community are here to support each other.
Our expert counselors provided valuable advice with tips and routines for adults and children to better manage the stresses that come with working and learning from home. The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests it may be difficult for students to remain motivated when they can't make future plans, and don't know how long it will be before they can return to school. The uncertainty surrounding the duration of working and learning from home can make learning quite difficult. However, if you follow the following steps from our Elementary School (ES) academic team, ES Counselor Lee, you can help ensure you and your child get into a daily routine that better equips everyone to tackle their daily tasks.
- Be mindful of bedtimes: make sure children are getting enough rest consistently and have a morning routine ready for them when they wake up.
- Limit screen time: Students are already on their screens more than usual, so find some activities away from the TV or computer that engage them during their down time.
- Set up a workstation: Students should have a designated area for work that is quiet and free of other distractions. Use this area only for study and keep it clean.
- Proximity teaching: Teachers in the classroom use their position in the room to help encourage students and facilitate learning. If possible, you can also work near or alongside your child to help keep them focused.
- Scheduling: Transitioning online can throw learners off of their usually strict schedules. Helping them plan their days and set goals can help start them on the right track and make learning from home an easier adjustment.
- Review work together: Although students will need time to work quietly on their own, taking some time to discuss or review their work can help them better synthesize the information, and provide them with positive feedback and encouragement.
- Make time for rest and play: Students need even more time than usual to build skills through creative play, maintain their important social connections, and just relax. Make sure that they have enough time to do all of these and are not only focusing on their online work.
Following these specific tips can be a good start to easing the stress that comes with being online. Furthermore, most of these tips can also be used by parents who need to work from home. Everyone in the house being busy with their work can cause added tension, and unnecessary stress. Following this guide for both learners and workers can ameliorate some of this pressure, and lead to a more relaxed family and home setting – another crucial part of wellbeing. Setting up matching workstations near your child so you can model for them; setting up daily schedules to ensure both you and your child have time to work alone quietly, as well as time to discuss any challenges and just chat; and limiting time in front of the TV are ways for all of us to mitigate stress and maximize motivation.
As helpful as these steps are, it is also important to keep an overall positive mindset. Be mindful throughout the day, and take time to relax and take care of your own mental health, and encourage the other members of your household to do the same. Our Secondary School (SS) Counselor, Karen, recommends the following strategies for both students and parents to help them continue to be mindful in stressful situations.
- Acknowledge feelings: It is normal for students to feel worry and fear, anxiety and frustration during the challenge of moving to online learning. In fact, everyone is likely feeling more anxious now. Therefore, it is important to stay connected. Ask how your child is doing, talk about their classes and lessons and their friends. Keep a routine for the whole family, such as joining together for dinner to discuss how the day has gone.
- Keep a positive outlook: Try to find a balance between checking on your child and watching over them, so they don't feel too monitored or isolated. You can acknowledge that things are difficult but reinforce that you are there to support and help your child.
- Keep connected: Allow down time for your child to take a break, and make sure that they keep in contact with their friends. This social time will help them maintain a sense of normalcy.
Practice Relaxation Strategies: Relaxation is a powerful tool to fight feelings of stress and anxiousness. Both parents and children should find activities to relax and destress and make time for these activities throughout the day. Something as simple as journaling, drawing, playing music, going for a run, or listening to an audiobook can help you and your child relax, and get you ready to take on the day.
The final thing Counselor Karen reminds us of is that all will be well. "Remember that this situation is temporary," she states. It is equally important for parents to remember this as well. As Counselor Lee says, "Parents need to take care of themselves before they can take care of their kids." It will take a collective effort from parents, students, teachers, and family, to make sure we are all taking care of ourselves and others. All our counselors mention the importance of connectedness. Fortunately, the BCIS community is strong and connected, and we are here to support each other throughout any challenge. Go Warriors and take care!