Digital Lifestyle Expert
As a parent and digital lifestyle expert, Carley Knobloch is well aware of the role technology plays during a pandemic, especially when it comes to learning in an untraditional classroom. With so many students spending their days staring at computer screens, it’s not surprising they’re feeling anxious and isolated. But there are things parents can do to ease the tension.
“Keep talking to your kids,” Knobloch said. “Also, encourage them to reach out to their teachers separate from the classroom, because teachers are hurting, too. And tell them that it makes sense if they have anxiety or if they’re feeling sad or depressed.”
Provide the necessary equipment
Having the proper setup goes a long way as students deal with their new reality. In addition to understanding the mechanics of Zoom, parents should invest in a robust WiFi router, along with a good camera, microphone, and adequate lighting. Also, during non-school hours, allowing your children to use FaceTime, social media, and communication devices to talk to friends can be a lifesaver.
Consider purchasing blue light protective glasses, and stock up on drops for itchy or dry eyes that sometimes result from viewing a monitor all day. Neck strain can also be an issue. Find a comfortable chair and place it at the computer.
Create the right mood
According to Knobloch, you can establish a calming presence by turning to less salacious news sources. Listen to NPR or read the New York Times to catch up on the day’s headlines.
“Avoid the yelling talking heads,” she said. “Stay informed without getting sucked into the mania that’s going on right now. Keep the environment a little more chill.”
“Get outside and participate,” Knobloch said. “Don’t be cooped up.”
Find safe ways for your kids to exercise, or at least sit on the balcony for some fresh air. Try to arrange a playdate with friends on the patio, practicing social distancing and mask wearing.
During these times, it’s critical to have some version of normalcy. Youngsters who may be missing the routine of walking to class or going to lunch can take a brisk walk or stretch to help them cope.
Remember that regression is normal during this time.
“If your kid comes to you in the middle of the night or is getting whinier or weepier, that indicates the stressful time we’re all in,” Knobloch said.
Also, learn how to breathe. If you or your children are feeling anxious, sad or angry, conquering those emotions is as easy as learning how to inhale and exhale to relax.
“We’re all just trying to power through this,” Knobloch said. “Let your kids know you understand and be tolerant.”