Page 30 - Alaksa Parent - Fall 2020
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QUARTER By Christa Melnyk hines
 For some kids, school is a challenge no matter what. But throw in a historic pandemic, complete with masks, social distancing and an unrecognizable classroom environment — or remote learning — and you have a recipe for even more kids feeling the sting of school struggles.
How should we respond?
“Families, teachers and students need to show grace with each other. Students have not been in classrooms for months and there are many things going on in our lives,” says Kristen Zuck, a coordinator of curriculum and instruction.
“Curiosity is a good place to start with because it’s a non-defensive position, and it puts your child in a position of not having to react,” says parent coach Nicole Schwarz, LMFT.
Try to identify what might have
led to a poor score. Perhaps your child is distracted by the unusual school environment, their mask
is itchy, or they can’t figure out
the technology. Maybe they’re struggling to grasp a concept like multiplication. Or perhaps they need to have their desk moved up closer to the front of the classroom because they can’t hear the teacher well.
Ask your child questions like:
What do you think would help you do better? or How can I support you?
“My goal as a parent would be
to show my kids that I’m rallying around them and wanting to
help them move forward,” Nicole says. “When they feel heard and understood, they’re more willing to go deeper into conversation.”
CREATE STRUCTURE. Kids typically thrive in a structured environment because it provides a sense of predictability and security, which supports learning.
“Whether they are at home or in
a physical school building, helping them create a daily schedule, including goals, can help them guide their day and know if they’re setting themselves up for success,” Kristen says.
FEELINGS. Focus not only on your child’s physical health, but also their social and emotional well-being. Talk with your child about how school looks and feels different, and maybe even a little weird, this year.
“Discussing with our kids how they feel and reassuring them that it’s okay that they feel that way can help ease some anxiety,” Kristen says.
GET CURIOUS. Rather than panicking over a poor grade and demanding answers, try to understand your child’s perspective. Otherwise, you risk losing an opportunity for a productive conversation.
30 alaska parent fall 2020

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