The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some stressful situations for families in the past year and a half.
With the omicron variant spreading rapidly across the country, two of the country’s top guidance counselors are offering some advice for parents and students alike.
Olivia Carter and Alma Lopez were recognized as Best Counselors by the American School Counselors Association in 2021 and 2022. The group recognized them for the practices they introduced into schools that served to understand the trauma some students are still dealing with.
“(The pandemic) has definitely affected the students. We know there’s been a lot of loss through all of this, a lot of grief with our students, but I think people are having a harder time with our staff and our teachers,” said Carter, who was recently named Best School Counsellor. 2021 for this year.
“You still need to be the parent you were before the pandemic,” said Lopez, a middle school counselor in Livingston, California. “You have to be aware; you have to be involved.”
Many of the practices that Lopez and Carter put in place focus on improving social and emotional well-being, which has become even more important since the arrival of COVID-19.
Counselors run grief support groups and meet with students in private. They also ensure that employees are well placed with mental health and wellness activities.
This type of support can also be helpful for parents.
“With our children, when we are in the moment, children become disorganized, and the best thing we can do for them in those moments is to sit with them and listen empathetically and say, ‘Hey, I’m here for you, I know you’re struggling,’” Carter said. Mental health is just as important, as that will affect your child’s mental health.”
“Make sure that as a parent you remember that you are the main stakeholder in your children’s development and that you are an expert in your child, and if something is not right, reach out to your community,” Lopez said.