Teens Going Back To School: Seeking A New Normal

Teens Going Back To School - Seeking A New Normal
This fall, we all struggle to find the balance between the way we traditionally go about life and the much-touted “new normal.” The COVID-19 pandemic has altered daily fives in a wide range of ways. As communities and school districts struggle to establish what your teen’s school year will look like, there are things you can do to help your teen transition back into learning.

If you find yourself outside of your comfort zone, there are companies that can help you find therapeutic alternative living situations for struggling teens. If you find that your teen is unable to excel despite your best attempts, reach out for professional support for your troubled teen from Help Your Teen Now.

Take a Flexible Stance on Your Approach to Your Child’s School Year:

Whether your local school district is taking a wait and see approach to the school year or has committed to a course of action, we all learned last spring that circumstances may change. Establish an attitude of flexibility toward this school year. Your attitude toward your child’s education will help your child understand how to take a healthy stance toward change. If you present a flexible approach to the changes occurring around you and your family, you will instill confidence in your teen that they too can cope with uncertain times.

Develop Routines for Your Child’s Daily Life:

Your teen will thrive best within a consistent structure. Help your teen develop a schedule to help structure their day. This will be most beneficial for those facing online and hybrid learning situations. This understanding of human nature is being reflected in the rules that many school districts are establishing surrounding appropriate clothing and behavior in the online learning environment. Although there is a natural tendency to stray from routine in times of chaos, you will find that structure allows your teen to thrive. If your teen has an established routine to follow, they will not have to spend time thinking about, or worrying about the flow of their day.

Things you can do to encourage routine:

  • Help your teen to set a morning routine.
  • Maintain a consistent dinner time. You will find that using this time to transition from the school day to family time will help your teen maintain a healthy life balance.

Help Your Child Maintain Social Connections:

Time away from the rigors of in-class instruction brings with it a temptation to isolate. Reduced social engagement will impact everyone differently. However, you will want to ensure that your teen gets a healthy amount of social connection. Your teen will probably have preferred ways to remain virtually connected to friends. However, you may need to get creative in developing ways to support connections with those who are less technologically savvy.

Suggestions for creative virtual connections:

  • Let your teen throw a virtual party via zoom. This is a creative way to encourage safe connections during COVID-19. A virtual Halloween party may be a creative way to encourage connection while practicing social distancing this fall.
  • Invite family members to a virtual family dinner. This is a particularly helpful way to help your teen maintain connections with vulnerable family members.
  • Volunteer time with community agencies or your church. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we started seeing an increase in virtual volunteering. Help your teen reach out to meaningful causes located near you to support a sense of community and purpose.

Help your Child Stay Physically and Mentally Active:

Physical activity helps people maintain a sense of wellbeing. Many people noticed increases in feelings of anxiety and depression early in the COVID-19 pandemic. These were often associated with the initial lockdown orders. As we developed a better understanding of how the virus spread, many people realized that adding time outdoors and physical activity to their day helped to improve sleep and mood regulation.

Many people also noted an increase in boredom and difficulty focusing early in the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help your teen avoid these symptoms by helping them to engage mentally.

Suggestions for physical and mental activity:

  • Take a walk around the neighborhood or through a park
  • Read a book, or better yet, engage your family in reading parts of a play
  • Take a virtual tour of a museum or historically significant site. You will find that many internationally renowned sites and museums have developed virtual tours.

Seek Professional Help for Your Child When Needed:

If you notice that your teen continues to struggle despite your best efforts, reach out for professional guidance from experts in the industry such as from the team at Help Your Teen Now. There is no reason you and your teen must struggle in isolation. Some teens will find the uncertainty of the changes in their lives more challenging than others. As parents, you may notice increased acts of defiance, struggles with controlling mood, withdrawal, passive-aggressive behavior, or a variety of other concerning signs.

If your teen struggles with out of control behavior, you may want to seek professional help or residential treatment centers that support troubled teens.

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