In this final installment of our three part series, we will discuss the challenges that have come with COVID-19 and some strategies to help you best support your child during this time. Read Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE
Our children’s grades are just as important now as they were before the pandemic. It is our responsibility as parents to monitor their grade reports and address areas of concern.
Although checking in on grades is important, be sure not to put too much pressure on students when their grades are lower than normal. Students are juggling more now than they ever have before, so turn your correction into encouragement. Tell your child how powerful and resilient they are. Give them your full support and tell them that you are there for them regardless of the outcome. Your child wants to succeed and do well in their classes. They already carry the guilt of their low grades. If they know that they can come to you in their time of need, they will, and they will be encouraged to try their best. However, if you push too hard or you dismiss your child’s needs, they will turn away from you and lean on their friends or on other things that can be dangerous. If you find that your child would rather do just enough to get by, encourage them to do more, to reach higher, and remind them that doing their best is what they are meant to do because they are capable. Speaking these truths into your child’s life will have an incredible effect on the way they view themselves, which will in turn encourage them to work harder in school.
Parents, I know what I am sharing can seem overwhelming, but rest assured: you are not alone. You have teachers and guidance counselors that are willing to help you. We are willing to help foster these conversations and find solutions to support your child. Consider emailing or reaching out the counselor to set up virtual appointments. The guidance counselors can help your child create a schedule that would help them manage their load, provide strategies for them to stay level headed during these tough times, and they can diagnose any mental health concerns that arise during this pandemic.
Last but not least, rewarding your child once you have held them accountable is essential. You can reward them for good grades, consistent attendance, or for simply having a positive attitude. Be gracious and liberal with your use of verbal praise and physical touch. When I asked my students how they wanted to be rewarded, a great number of them shared that they would love to receive a hug. Kate, who previously shared about wanting more empathy also shared that “a hug after a long day would be a wonderful relief.” Even if you or your child aren’t overly affectionate, a small shoulder squeeze or high five can communicate to your child that you love and appreciate them. With all of the social distancing measures, your child could use that hug or shoulder squeeze now more than ever. Other rewards can include money, toys, or even experiences. Experiences that could be rewards include a day trip to a nearby big city, a hike, a trip to the mall, or a drive in movie; maybe you can take your child out to dinner or have a socially distant, outdoor gathering for your child and their friends.
Your words can bring your children life and strength during these perilous times, but on the other hand they can also bring them despair and hopelessness. Let’s all be mindful of what we say to kids, and what we say to ourselves. Our kids are watching us and learning how to deal with this pandemic from us, let’s be the right role models.