The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly thrown a wrench in school enrollment in Phoenix, AZ. While parents are suffering, trying to work from home and foster a good learning environment, teenagers may be having a particularly tough time. They’re old enough to know the difference between lockdown and normal times, and at an age where they’re probably trying to seek as much independence as possible. Schools have traditionally been a place where kids can escape from their home life and try new social interactions, hobbies, academic pursuits and more.
Although the learning disruption has been difficult, the social disruption is equally devastating. Here are some ways you can support your teenager as the pandemic drags on:
Manage “the new normal” in your parent/child relationship: Teenagers are notoriously volatile, and this is usually an age where they’ll rebel or seek more independence. Usually, school is a safe place to “separate” from the parents and try new things. Since most people are working from home, your kids don’t have that safe, separate space anymore. Experts suggest that you take a support role rather than instructing your kids by yourself. Ask what you can do to help, and set boundaries—but otherwise, let them take the lead.
Give them a sense of control: This emotional and social upheaval can make some teens feel helpless, and as if they don’t have any control over their lives. One way to help them regain some control is to support them in finding solutions to feel connected, whether that’s volunteering (sewing masks and working for food banks are two great ways to help) or coming up with safe ways to get their needs met.
Take care of their mental health: Anxiety and depression have spiked during the pandemic, so make sure that you support your child’s physical and mental health. Encourage them to attend school counseling sessions or work with their own personal therapist.
Keep an eye on their safety: If you can’t be home with your children during the day, find solutions to keep them safe. Consider forming social pods with other families, look for community organizations and programs and other safe ways to foster social interaction while you’re at work.
Find ways to keep in touch with peer groups: Luckily, technology makes it very easy for kids to keep in touch with their friends. However, it might not be enough, especially when kids are sacrificing events like graduation, prom and other milestones. Social pods and volunteering can provide safe opportunities for social interaction.
Help them get set up for success: Finally, make sure your teenager knows they’re still expected to do the best they can. Give them opportunities to feel competent, like celebrating good assignment scores and working with them to find solutions for trouble spots. Letting your kid take the lead will help them feel more empowered.
Pointe Schools is a charter school system in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about school enrollment, or to learn more about how we’ve been working to educate children during the pandemic, call us today.