NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW) – As parents struggle to keep students safe and learning, virtual instruction has become another COVID-created necessity. And yet, the format just isn’t a good fit for everyone — starting with the parents.

“I ran into all of the issues with uploading or having to re-upload our assignments, because our links didn’t work,” recalls Carmen David of Bedford of the frustration involved with accessing coursework in the spring. But, she says the move to online instruction was even more difficult for her kindergarten daughter.

“She started to have a lot of breakdowns in the spring with the virtual stuff, where she’s crying a lot more often, and of course I’m there to support and comfort her but I can only do so much,” says David.

She says her daughter longed for routine, and those in-person connections. So, ZOOM calls just didn’t cut it.

“It just wasn’t the same until she refused to do even that. And so she, she just didn’t want to see anybody on the computer, she just wanted to see them in person so it was, it was very difficult for her.”

And child experts aren’t surprised.

“We are social beings, so we’re meant to connect with one another,” says Roshini Kumar, a clinical therapist with Children’s Health. She says while families craft plans to avoid the coronavirus, it’s important to monitor emotional health, as well.

“So if you start to notice in your child that they’re failing to complete assignments or they’re not engaging with friends, that they don’t really have good connections with. That’s something to stop and say you know hey what’s going on, what can you do to foster a better connection virtually or break down an assignment so that it’s easier to understand.”

And believe it or not, even teens can get tired of computers.

“It’s really tough, because I don’t like being in the house all day,” shares 14-year-old Trey Jackson while shooting a few hoops at a neighborhood park. He’s an incoming freshman in South Oak Cliff’s PTech Academy and he is pleading with his mother to allow an in-class return.

“I want to go back in class because I can get better teacher instruction,” says Trey, “or if I need help, I can get quick responses instead of typing in the chat box or sharing my screen.”

Experts acknowledge that all of the uncertainty surrounding the return to school also adds to the anxiety. So Kumar encourages families to focus on what they can control: work on a project together, create and stick to household routines. Those routines, she says, can be as simple as eating breakfast together, or every day at dinner sharing something good or something to be grateful for. And remember to care for each other.

Meanwhile, Carmen David is so determined that her daughter not be forced to learn online all year, that they’ve already bought books to homeschool as a backup. Still, she’s approaching the challenging season with grace.

“I wouldn’t want to be on the administrative board trying to figure this stuff out. I really do think they’re trying their very best and we can all just try to be as flexible as we can and help each other.”

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