Special shout out to all those newly appointed “homeschool teachers” for pre-teens out there.
If you’re like me, you’re probably learning how to balance a career and household in the time of COVID. All while trying to help your middle-school-aged teens with schoolwork. Things you have either long forgotten how to do, or don’t recognize because the curriculum is like a foreign language now. Having your kiddos around you all the time is an adjustment for some. But, it is also an opportunity to help them to understand the world around them. Of course, we’d like to shelter our children from all the scary things in the world. The reality is that they’d be better-served knowing how to see things as they are rather than be shielded from it. We know that COVID 19 is at the forefront of everyone’s concerns right now. So, here are a few tips for talking to your preteen and keeping them in good mental health.
Be honest with your teen and pre-teens.
As parents, we want to give the appearance to our children that everything is under our control and will be okay. The reality is, your guess is as good as mine how this thing will turn out. Uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and nervousness are real emotions felt by all human beings. Instead of trying to sugarcoat the situation, use it as an opportunity to have an honest conversation with your children. Allow them to process their feelings as they feel them. There is great benefit in teaching your preteen to understand that it’s not a bad thing to feel, and you are the most qualified person to set the example. Ask them how they feel about things and let them suggest their own solutions. You may be surprised at what you find.
Allow your pre-teen to lead…a little
One of the most important things you can do with your kids during this time is to keep them on schedule. In my house, I have my kids out of bed by 8 AM. It’s a little later than their normal school wake up time, but it keeps them focused on school as a serious task. The best thing about this, however, is that the KIDS chose the wake-up time. My wife and I listed all the things that needed to be accomplished throughout the day (schoolwork, chores, meals, etc.). But, we let the kids decide how they want to go about it. Allowing the kids to help with the schedule makes them more motivated to follow it! Plus, it keeps the days filled with a sense of accomplishment.
Reinforce the Little Things
It’s funny how the key guidance for defeating a pandemic sounds a lot like things that our moms have been telling us all along. Cover your cough. Wash your hands thoroughly. Don’t get too close to strangers. Though not an opportunity to say, “I told you so”, be sure to reinforce the basics that you’ve preached all along. Explain that we practice cleanliness because when germs get out of hand, it can change everything. Use the moment as a teaching tool as there is no better instructor than reality.
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About the Author:
William Coombs, DSW, ACSW
Former U.S. Marine Intelligence Analyst, William Coombs, is now a clinical therapist. Above all, he values authenticity and an individualized approach to your therapy experience. If you are looking for a therapist who gets it and is ready to help you become your best self, let’s talk. Visit our blog page to read more from William and other Outside the Norm therapists. Then, click here to read more about his training and approach.
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