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Mental health professionals give advice on how to help your kids go back to school

Mothers, therapist discuss ways to keep kids engaged
Posted at 10:25 AM, Jul 29, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the school year inches closer, mental health experts warn children may need a little extra guidance.

From snack time to play time, Emiliano Brooks and his daughters like to keep busy at his home in Delray Beach.

"Day to day is try to keep a schedule," he said.

As Brooks prepares for another virtual school year, he said keeping his 8-year-old and 10-year-old on a schedule with extra activities is the key to his success.

"When this did happen, I told the girls we were going to follow our schedule," he said. "The only thing that changed is instead of jumping in the car and driving to school, they would go and check their email in the morning to see what their teacher had sent them and get prepared and then have breakfast and then start school."

Licensed mental health counselor Ashley Leising said a routine can help give your child a feeling of stability and control he or she may have lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once that feeling is restored, she suggests taking this time to get to know your children even better.

"I think one of the most important things is to start to learn their child's learning style and then really setting up a separate learning space," she said.

Starting in August, Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches will start testing children's learning styles.

"Whether it's auditory, visual, kinesthetic -- those are the three different types, and yet a child is probably going to be more dominant in one type," Leising said.

Licensed family therapist Clara Bossie spoke to WPTV on Wednesday during a virtual roundtable on Facebook. From how to talk your children about COVID-19 to how to best help them learn from home, WPTV's Sabirah Rayford and two area mothers joined Bossie in talking about how families can cope during this difficult time.

"I learned that we have to completely clear her environment," Rita Driscoll said.

Driscoll, a single mom, said teaching her 12-year-old daughter from home started out a little bumpy.

"Really, the second month I started seeing Joseline withdraw," Driscoll said. "She wasn't able to see any of her friends."

She said finding out her daughter's learning style helped.

"And we discovered she's an audible learner," Driscoll said.

Driscoll said it's not only helped her schoolwork, but also their mother-daughter bond.

"She's just that super, happy go-lucky girl," she said.