Social isolation can come in many forms. More often than not, it’s caused by illness. The current pandemic has brought about a new form of mandated social isolation, likely restricting your child’s ability to see their friends. Other conditions might bring about social isolation too – friendship trouble, a recent move, or starting at a new school can also lead to feelings of isolation.

Help Your Child Develop Resilience

Resilience is our ability to withstand and move beyond adversity– optimally, resilience gives us the ability to become stronger as a result of challenges.

Helping your child develop resilience takes a multifaceted approach. One of the best starting points is looking at the ways you can increase your child’s sense of agency. In other words, your child needs to know that they have some measure of control over their lives. Encourage this type of thinking by focusing on how challenges or problems make them feel AND how they will solve or overcome those challenges. For younger children, you may have to formulate a plan with them, as their developmental stage can play a role in their ability to articulate or set a plan in motion.

Create Opportunities to Socialize

Physical isolation is rarely a permanent affair and luckily, in today’s world, there’s almost always a method of socializing. In cases where physical distancing is required, encourage your child to call or video chat with their friends and family. If physical distancing is not required, there are other ways to help your child ease feelings of isolation. For example, you might opt to sign them up for extracurricular activities or arrange for play dates. Take some time to chat with your child about activities they might like.

Talk to Your Kids

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is hear your children out. How isolation is making them feel, why they think they’re isolated, and how they plan on dealing with isolation are all important topics of conversation. What’s more, speaking with you about these things is, in some ways, a stopgap to isolation in and of itself.

In circumstances where social isolation isn’t being caused by sickness or other unpreventable factors, it can be a good idea to talk to teachers and other parents about your child’s behavior. Some children (especially young children) don’t yet have the social skills necessary to create lasting friendships. You might talk to them about shyness, aggressiveness, or other traits that may be creating barriers to social interaction.

Keep in mind that social isolation can be exceedingly difficult to go through. Be patient, listen, and validate your child’s feelings, affirming that together, you can work toward a solution.

Guest Author: 

Veronica Wallace is a childhood educator and blogging enthusiast. Some of her favourite articles can be found on the Kidthink website. Kidthink specializes in offering clinical treatment of mental illness in children aged twelve and under, along with community outreach and training for this type of treatment.

Editor’s Note:

This blog contains views, and positions of the author, and does not represent Safe and Sound Schools. Information provided in this blog is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Safe and Sound Schools accepts no liability for any omissions, errors, or representations. The copyright to this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

It took four months to plan, write, field, analyze and prepare the final summary, but through the hard work of students and faculty from Boston University, in partnership with our team, we are excited to share this report with you.

We can boil down the results of the State of School Safety 2020 survey and report to this: we are headed in the right direction.

When we first set out to report on the state of school safety in 2018, the world was a different place. In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, educators were grappling with safety threats but lacked resources, parents were hungry for details about plans, and students demanded to be heard. Communication about school safety was sparse, and parents and students were not confident in their schools’ safety preparedness.

In 2019, the State of School Safety report showed a continued disconnect among stakeholders about school safety. Educators felt more prepared than students and parents. Students still felt they did not have a voice in school safety decision making, and parents and students sought increased communication about plans and protocols. Parents and students were unsure how to access mental health experts in their schools. However,educators and parents both felt a sense of optimism that schools have the expertise to improve school safety, and educators showed a deeper understanding of the role mental health plays in school safety.
Results of the State of School Safety 2020 report indicate we have come a long way in three years. Not only have we increased understanding among all stakeholder groups, we have fostered a more proactive culture of comprehensive school safety awareness and saw educators enhance the safety of their schools through easily accessible improvements. While we love seeing the impact of our work, there is still much more to do.

As you dive into the report, you will see we delivered it to you in a more visual format, which we hope will make it more accessible to all members of your community. We also divided the results across our framework for comprehensive school safety, making it easier for you to parse out feedback for various members of your safety team.

The strides we’ve taken are worth recognizing, but we must stay vigilant in our cause – school safety is not an item you can ever cross off your to-do list. The more we learn and as threats continue to evolve, we must stay alert, committed, and invest in all areas of school safety.