As 2020 comes to a close this month, I cannot help but reflect back on this year with puzzlement.  This pandemic has changed my perspective of the world on so many levels, including the effect school on a screen has on the mental health of our children.

Before coming full time to RFC almost 9 years ago, I was a tenured school teacher in Scotts Valley.  Advocating for children is something I take very seriously.  As a teacher, way before I had my own two children, I advocated in and out of my classroom for my students.  This year, more than ever, I feel it is vital for the adults in the world to try and understand and support what our children are managing right now.  Here are three tips to help support your kids during the pandemic:

  1. Reduce Screen Time

School is more than just learning in a classroom; socialization and play are just as crucial. And now school is on a screen.  No friends to hang out with at recess, no field trips, not even an early morning car ride to get to school.  Just screens!  Be aware of the distractions screens cause our kids and adjust your exceptions for them.  Remind them to take a break between classes and get up and move.  Help them find other ways to spend their free time to reduce the screen time.

  1. Get Active With Your Kids!

Movement supports mental health for all.  Our kids are not getting enough movement throughout the day under normal circumstances, let alone during this pandemic where they are sitting hours a day.  Take a walk or bike ride with your kids before their first class.  Have a hard time getting them up in the morning? Walk to your neighborhood coffee shop and grab a special morning treat before school.  Remember, treats don’t have to be full of sugar.

  1. Hug your kids!

None of us are getting much physical touch since being on lock down.  We all need a hug and to be told we are loved.  Your kids will appreciate your actions and words even if they don’t say so.