Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/SS-r7BvCqTY
The mental health of teens across the United States is becoming a hot topic. News outlets continue to tell stories of the mental health decline in teens due to COVID-19, while experts suggest that the lack of face-to-face learning affects social and emotional skills. Combined with a global pandemic, parental stress at home, and endless hours on social media, it’s no wonder that teen mental health is on the decline.
The Brain Forest Centers team has seen a rise in neurofeedback requests, especially when it relates to depression and anxiety in both kids and adults. We understand that poor mental health can affect anyone’s ability to work, learn, and thrive. There’s no doubt that remote learning has thrown another kink in the hose, often holding back your superhero from excelling over this past year. Yet, parents need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel, and there are ways you can help your child succeed in both their remote learning and in life past this pandemic!
How Can You Monitor Your Child’s Mental Health?
With everyone staying home and in close quarters, many parents are suddenly more in tune with their kids and education. Without all the usual distractions, it’s leading more parents to assume that remote learning is to blame for a sudden shift in their child’s behavior. According to a Gallup Poll, about 30% of parents claim their child is experiencing “emotional or mental harm” due to social distancing caused by COVID-19. While social distancing is a contributing factor, and kids have to re-learn their learning environment, remote learning shouldn’t be entirely blamed. The changes at home, electronic device dependency, and parental depression and anxiety can also play a role. If you’re concerned about your child’s mental state, here are some key things to look out for:
- A shorter temper
- A drop in their performance
- New tics
- Significant changes in their overall behavior
You can also play an active role in monitoring your child’s behavior after school hours. Do they seem more agitated? Are they retreating to their phones or rooms? Are they comparing their lives to their peers through a screen? What are you doing to engage them with the family? These are all questions and behaviors parents can be aware of before deciding that remote learning is the reason for their teen’s mental health.
Is There Success with Remote Learning?
For many, remote learning is a new concept, but there is hope. Homeschooled students are a great example of successful remote learning. Nearly 5 million K-12 students are homeschooled every year, and they often score 15 to 30 percentile points higher than public school students on standardized testing. Home-educated students also tend to score above average on the SAT and ACT for college. However, we must note that remote learning still involves teacher-led lessons, while homeschooling is parent-led. This information isn’t meant to encourage homeschooling but rather give parents hope that remote learning can be done successfully when they play an active role in their child’s education.
What Can Parents Do at Home?
Working parents may find it challenging to play that active role, especially if they’re working from home themselves. However, you can help encourage your child through their learning and monitor their mental health. Such things include:
- Turning everyday activities into learning opportunities
- Checking in periodically throughout the day
- Monitoring your own mental health and work frustrations
- Doing your best to separate work life and home life
- Teaching your children coping mechanisms and how to be more flexible
- Encouraging questions about homework assignments or material they don’t understand
- Figuring out a problem together
- Limiting phone and device time
There’s a lot that plays into your child’s mental health. Many parents are just now seeing their children struggle for the first time. While it may feel sudden to you, consider your surroundings, the type of atmosphere you’re providing at home, and whether or not external factors are playing a role in your teen’s struggle with remote learning.
How Can We Mitigate Mental Distractions?
Being aware of your child’s mental health is just as important as noting their physical health. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents realize their children are struggling mentally. If your teen is struggling to reach their peak performance while remote learning due to depression, anxiety, and ADHD, then it’s time to schedule an assessment with Brain Forest Centers. Neurofeedback training can help mitigate your child’s mental distractions through the reward system, giving your teen more control over their mental health. Call us today at (317) 288-9828.