How Schools Can Better Deal With Post-COVID Behavioral Issues

There’s no denying that a pandemic is going to affect the health and behaviors of our youth, but the degree to which they were affected is often overlooked. According to 70% of educators in a national study, students are misbehaving more than they did before the 2020 shutdown. 

Teachers are expected to catch children up, both educationally and emotionally, but that hasn’t been easy. Some schools are falling back on disciplinary policies, but negative reinforcement rarely works, and if it does, it isn’t for long. Schools need to find better ways to help students.

In this article, we’ll look at how educational bodies can improve the happiness of their students without spreading their teachers too thin. Educators need to work together to fix this issue.

4 Ways Schools Can Handle Post-COVID Behavioral Issues

Helping students through post-COVID behavioral issues is going to be a challenge, but there are a lot of things schools can do to help. Here are a few suggestions schools can use.

1. Hire a Professional Who Specializes in Behavioral Psychology

Teachers aren’t solely responsible for fixing this problem, but they’re often asked to. This means they’re doing a lot of unpaid labor and emotional work that they aren’t trained to do or can’t provide in a classroom. For this reason, schools should consult a behavioral psychologist. 

Someone who has a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology can help teachers and counselors notice red flags, lead students through calming techniques, and provide advice on how to manage behavioral issues. They can be an incredible resource during major transitional steps.

2. Ask Parents to Help Improve Their Child’s Social Skills

Blaming children for the way they responded to a global catastrophe isn’t appropriate or helpful, but it’s often the first thing we think of. If anyone, child or adult, has no healthy way or doesn’t know how to express themselves, then they’re going to have a hard time managing their pain.

Since our children lose out on socialization time, it’s likely that they’re confused about how to talk or communicate difficulties with their friends or family. This can cause them to lash out. Schools can speak to parents about ways to develop their child’s social skills.

3. Teachers Can Lead Regulation Role-Play Sessions

Not only have children been losing their social skills, but they’ve also lost their ability to self-regulate. This is the process involved when we decide what to think and feel, and what to say or do. A lack of self-regulation can make it hard for people to manage their problems.

Teachers can teach these skills by leading regulation role-play sessions. These involve teaching children language that helps them describe how they feel. A teacher could run children through common scenarios, ask them how they feel, and question what they can do in these situations. 

4. Understand What Individual Students Need

Every student handles stress differently, and it’s important for staff to educate students where they’re at. Some students need space when they’re upset. Others need a calming corner. What teachers can do is remind students of their options when they feel overwhelmed and upset.

You can also use this advice to gamify self-regulation. For example, you can create a game board where students can choose one way to calm down. Some examples include mental break (reading), physical (walking), spiritual (yoga), self-talk (affirmations), and social (talk to a peer).

In Conclusion… 

The lessons we teach children and teens will follow them when they’re adults. If schools and parents understand and react to the behavioral issues present in their children in a kind and positive way, they’re more likely to raise adults who can self-regulate and help their peers.

With that said, educators should also take the time to look after their own mental health. Without them, it won’t be easy for schools to help their students build resilience and self-love.

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