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How do I help my child with anxiety during virtual learning?

How do I help my child with anxiety during virtual learning?

Published: Mar. 3, 2022Updated: Apr. 4, 2022

To help kids focus, we can try certain things that enlist their bodies:

  • First, create an environment that’s comfortable. Invest in a comfortable chair and make sure the screen is at eye level and that your child’s feet touch the floor, if possible.
  • Research indicates that when a subgroup of kids with ADHD have something to do with their body, they process information better — so consider trying a standing desk (I know that some of these are big asks), using a yoga ball instead of a chair, or even putting a stationary bike in front of the computer.
  • Add sensory elements — for example, squishies, silly putty, or Speks magnets.
  • Remind your child to look away from the screen. The American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away. When you’re on Zoom, you’re not blinking as much, which can lead to eye strain, distractibility, and irritability.
  • Use visual timers to remind your child to get up and stretch in between meetings, or speak with their teacher about working in times to stretch. I’ve done that with a number of schools now, and it’s really helpful.
  • During breaks, encourage your child to go on a walk with you, get outside, or do some sort of yoga video (check out Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube!). It’s so important to get their bodies moving and get fresh air.
  • We know from the world of psychology that rewards work better for behaviors than punishment — so try to limit screen time and instead, use it as a reward.

For more details and ideas, check out our article Dr. Lauren Stutman, Psy.D, on How to Ease our Kids’ Anxieties: Pt. 2.

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