Therapists: Parents should adjust expectations during remote learning

Therapists: Parents should adjust expectations during remote learning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Starting Monday, thousands of students will go back to remote only learning. Cabarrus and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools are making major changes in light of record breaking COVID-19 cases in the community.

Eyewitness News has been hearing from frustrated parents who say remote learning isn’t working for their child and it is crushing their confidence.

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Anchor Brittney Johnson spoke to several therapists about ways families can navigate this unusually stressful time. Mental health professionals say to be flexible and adjust our expectations, even when it comes to your child’s grades.

Thriveworks Family Therapist Samantha Scuderi suggested parents acknowledge that kids don’t have the structure and hands on support from teachers that they typically do in the classroom. She counsels families worried about the long-term impact this will have on their children.

She says a child may already feel bad about lower grades and parents might make it worse if they add their frustration and disappointment. She suggests parents let go of normal expectations and focus on other ways to reward children for what they are doing well

“It’s okay. If your child was a straight ‘A’ student and their grades aren’t as high as what they were before, that’s really okay,” Scuderi said. “We can repair that. We can fix that like in the future. And, focusing on just smaller goals to help their children still feel like they’re doing well. Changing the expectations of did they make it to class? Great. Like, did they learn something today? Great. And, we will figure out tomorrow.”

Scuderi encourages parents to take a deep breath when they feel overwhelmed with remote learning challenges. She also recommends they find resources on coping with challenges and listen to podcasts like this one from researcher Brene Brown.

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Charlotte psychologist Dr. Joy Granetz says kids benefit from being guided during in-person learning and may need more structure at home.

“Many of them are having struggles with the organizational demands of distance learning and being alone. Having a calendar, that’s so they can really see their time. Break up their day into segments or parts. A list of tasks, checklists with things that they can get through. Setting up a technique where they might be working for 10 or 15 minutes segments with a five minute break,” Granetz said.

Another issue they mentioned was the need for more social connection. They suggested Zoom study hours or fun time with classmates. Families could also consider adjusting their schedules or adding breaks based on their child’s needs and communicating that with teachers.

Scuderi reminds that they could also benefit from letting go of anger and frustration over the new challenges. She says she tells parents to remember everyone is on the same team and parents, students and teachers are doing their best.