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How families can avoid stress, anxiety during online learning

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Posted at 3:46 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 19:46:51-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As more schools move to online learning, some parents and children are finding it hard to adjust to a new learning environment.

Dr. Jessica Hawks, Child and Adolescent Psychologist at Children's Hospital Colorado, says it's important parents are involved with their child's education. They should allocate space within the home for the child to use as a classroom.

"If a child is going to be doing homeschool or online schooling, the more organized and consistent we can make the home learning environment the better," said Hawks.

She says it can be tough for children to get into the mind space to learn at home so having that structure will help. Also, talking with your child's teacher on how online learning will work and expectations.

"The more kids know what to predict and expect, the less fearful they'll be about returning to school," said Hawks.

With online learning, Hawks says children will face a number of factors such as distractions on their computers. She says parents need to be monitoring them so they can stay engaged and adhere to the expectations. She says parents need to be modeling good behavior while at home.

"Making sure they have a structure they're sticking with and that they're not multitasking when they are on their work meetings," said Hawks.

To help manage stress and anxiety, she says parents should keep an open line of communication, keep a structured schedule and engage them in healthy habits.

"Regular exercise, eating healthy and creating opportunities for social interaction that is fun," said Hawks.

Karrah Martin has four children in Lewis-Palmer District 38, her three youngest are online and her oldest is doing a hybrid/online model. She says her children don't mind online learning, especially since they like completing tasks.

"They want a checklist, they want to know what to do, they want to get it done. Be very proud of it being done and go on," said Martin.

She says parents need to do what is best for their family. The Children's Hospital Colorado has resources for how families can handle stress and anxiety during this time.