Much attention is given to the academic impact of the distance learning approach that millions of Texas school children are likely to experience, to some extent, for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.
But other concerns should also receive proper attention, according to experts in the field: the potential impact that home learning can have on a child’s level of physical activity and on the quantity and quality of its social interactions.
As for their activity, organizations like Active Schools have long been concerned that children are not being active enough.
“Children need physical activity for full, healthy and productive lives. But there is a nationwide inactivity crisis, ”notes the organization on its website. “There is only one way to solve this problem: parents, teachers, administrators and the community come together to take action. “
But without a formal school setting, with its gym classes and playtime for the little ones, it can be difficult for kids to get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity, according to Charlene Burgeson, executive director of Active Schools.
“Whatever their family situation, whatever their family’s ability to involve them in community activities, school is a place where all children get the basics of what they need,” said Burgeson. “So it’s a huge concern when they can’t give children the opportunity to move and the physical education they need in school. “
Burgeson encouraged parents of young children to seek out creative fitness solutions, including “follow-up” videos, and to consider that a child’s activity doesn’t have to happen at the same time.
“Many parents of school-aged children have realized that it is enough to interrupt the day, that children cannot do homework, read or watch television all day,” said Burgeson. “So we are seeing families looking for ways to take these breaks from physical activity.”
As for the reduced possibilities for social interaction, which have probably suffered since last spring, parents could be doing their children a great service by organizing semi-regular virtual meetings with their friends, according to Roshini Kumar, licensed professional counselor and clinical therapist. for children’s health. .
“When we have something that we look forward to it fosters a sense of motivation and motivation, and sometimes an internal sense of happiness that we have something to look forward to,” Kumar said. “So often when there is no routine it can cause a feeling of chaos, or just confusion, in a child’s mind, which can contribute to anxiety. “
Kumar said a few common signs of growing anxiety in children are an inability to focus on tasks or a noted loss of interest in things or activities they were previously interested in.
But Kumar stressed that parents who feel overly concerned about the long-term well-being of their children during the pandemic should consider their children’s ability to weather adversity.
“I think it’s important for parents to remember that kids are resilient,” Kumar said. “If they have overcome difficult situations in the past, they will overcome difficult situations in the future.”