District offers advice on “Emotional Health and Wellness During the School Closure”

Above: The Northborough and Southborough Schools latest newsletter highlighted advice on staying healthy physically and emotionally.

The schools are giving kids a day off from remote learning today. But I’m passing on a reading assignment for the parents.

Yesterday, the district sent out the March newsletter. Top billing went to a message from the Wellness team with help from the district’s psychiatric consultant. Unlike the past messages about virus safety, this one focused on students’ and families’ emotional health.

(Of course, they still threw in a lot of reminders about keeping physically safe.)

Advice stresses the importance of routines (like getting dressed for the day), letting up on some routines when needed, reducing the amount of news in the background, making social connections, and even having patience for meltdowns.

[Editor’s Note: If you or your kids are stressing out, be sure to check out yesterday’s announcement from Southborough Youth & Family Services. The agency is offering online support groups.]

The team’s message was a long one, so I’m not going to include it all. Instead, I’m posting an excerpt and directing you to where you can read it in full – here. I’m also including below the useful links the team shared. 

As we continue to do our best to socially distance ourselves in our effort to contain the novel coronavirus, we want to make sure that our families have the support and resources they need during this challenging time to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.

Thank you to everyone for following social distancing rules. We know this is challenging, and we appreciate your efforts. Please remember, children cannot have play dates or be together outside playing sports or hanging out. COVID-19 is more contagious than influenza. Children may be unknowingly carrying the virus, as data shows that a large number of children are asymptomatic (having no visible symptoms) or have minimal symptoms that could be confused for seasonal allergies or other mild conditions. No one is immune to this virus, and some children may also become seriously ill or accidentally infect someone in their family.

The next few weeks will undoubtedly be challenging. Whether you have a preschooler or an adolescent, routines and schedules help. Plan a very specific daily rhythm and set expectations. The daily schedule should be as consistent as possible, including time for work, time for chores, time for exercise, time to eat, and a regular sleep schedule, though this sleep schedule can look different for older children than their traditional school year schedule, as long as they are getting an adequate amount of sleep. Include breaks and carve out specific family times and outdoor times. Expect that everyone gets dressed in new clothing – ideally traditional daytime attire – every day if possible.

Rhythms are important. That being said, it is also important to keep the rationale for this rhythm in mind – the schedule is a way to minimize anxiety and provide consistency. If it is interfering with your ability to stay positively connected, parents can choose to modify it – you don’t have to be rigid. A schedule is intended as a tool, not a shackle. Focusing on keeping everyone feeling meaningfully occupied in the home environment and emotionally connected to one another are the highest priorities during this time-limited period of social distancing. (read more)

Links shared for “advice on helping your family during this time”:

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