Bridging the Home-School Gap: How to Support Your Child's Emotional and Academic Well-Being

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As we navigate post-COVID life, the challenges have grown more complex. Though parents are no longer floundering in the upheaval of pandemic-era remote learning, they are facing the impact that lost in-person instructional and social time had on their child’s intellectual and behavioral development.

Sadly, many parents are witnessing their children grapple with behavioral issues in the classroom, face hurdles in their academic journey, and wrestle with social dynamics. They’re feeling rudderless, unsure of where to turn for help. As parents, it's natural to question whether it's the school system that's falling short in meeting our child's needs or if there are underlying factors we've yet to uncover. (Though if your child’s school is out of compliance with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 plans, it's not just a matter of concern – it's a legitimate problem that demands attention. If you need help working with your child’s school to ensure they’re providing your child the right services, please read our blog Advocating for Your Child: How to Get the Support You Need.)

 The truth is that the journey of understanding and addressing our children's behaviors is multifaceted. It requires a holistic approach—one that acknowledges the unique blend of academic, emotional, and social elements shaping your child's experiences. 

Though it can be overwhelming, you don’t have to walk this journey alone. We’re here to offer not just insights but support. So, let’s support and nurture your child’s emotional and educational well-being by bridging the home-school gap together.


The Intellectual and Behavioral Ramifications of the COVID-19 Pandemic

It likely comes as no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on children. From academic skills regression to social-emotional setbacks, the ripple effects of the pandemic have left a mark on our children’s development.

Academic Skills Regression

The abrupt shift to remote learning, coupled with the disruptions to the traditional classroom setting, has presented unprecedented challenges for young learners. Many children have experienced setbacks in their academic progress, with gaps emerging in core subject areas. Whether it's the struggle to grasp fundamental concepts or the loss of momentum in their learning trajectory, the repercussions of academic skills regression are palpable.

 In fact, research from Harvard University and Stanford University found that the average American public school student in grades 3-8 “lost the equivalent of a half year of learning in math and a quarter year in reading.” Disturbingly, past data has shown that there’s little recovery of the learning loss that comes from a disruption in schooling. This setback in learning and development has long-term implications that can affect children beyond school. 

Social-Emotional Regression

The pandemic also took a toll on children's social-emotional well-being. The absence of daily interactions with peers, the disruption to extracurricular activities, and the pervasive sense of uncertainty all contributed to a regression in social skills and emotional resilience. For many children, navigating the nuances of social dynamics and regulating their emotions has become an uphill battle fraught with challenges and uncertainties.

Social deprivations such as lockdowns, limited peer interactions, and mask-wearing interrupted and limited the ability of children to develop social, emotional, and communication skills. Because the successful development of these skills plays a significant role in children’s overall well-being – including brain development and physical health – it cannot be overlooked.

The Role of Schools

These are significant issues, and schools cannot resolve them on their own. While educators play a pivotal role in supporting children's growth and development, they cannot be solely responsible for addressing the intellectual and behavioral ramifications of the pandemic. After all, it does take a village.

Because the effects and implications of these regressions are far-reaching, it will require a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of academic, social, and emotional well-being. As such, a collaborative effort of parents, educators, and community stakeholders is necessary to move forward.


Behavior Issues in the Classroom: Is it School or Your Kiddo?

Behavior issues can often take center stage, casting a shadow over both home and classroom environments. It's essential to not take undesirable behaviors at face value but instead get curious about them. Peeling back the layers to get to the root cause will help you discern whether it’s something going on in the school environment or individual factors.

Understanding the Origins of Behavior Issues

Behaviors may arise from a myriad of sources, ranging from environmental factors to underlying developmental conditions. In the classroom setting, a child's behavior may be influenced by academic stressors, social dynamics, or environmental triggers. However, it's equally important to recognize that behaviors observed at home may stem from different sources altogether—ones that warrant careful consideration and thoughtful intervention.

The Role of Parents in Recognizing and Addressing Underlying Issues

As a parent, your connection and proximity to your child enable you to better recognize and address underlying issues that may contribute to behavior challenges. From mental health concerns to intellectual abilities and social skills deficits, it's crucial to approach behavior issues with a discerning eye, seeking to uncover the root cause rather than merely addressing the undesirable behavior.

 Is Your Child Struggling…


Perhaps your child is grappling with social interactions in the classroom, struggling to navigate peer relationships. In such instances, it's essential to consider whether they possess the social skills necessary to thrive within the classroom community.


If your child has a physical challenge like a medical condition or sensory sensitivity, it can also impact their ability to function optimally in a classroom environment. Whether it's the need for medication, therapy, or specialized accommodations, addressing physical needs is paramount in fostering a supportive learning environment.


Academic struggles can manifest in various forms, from difficulty keeping pace with the curriculum to challenges demonstrating understanding through assignments and assessments. In such cases, educational support and interventions may be necessary to help bridge the gap between learning expectations and your child's abilities.

Identifying the Root Cause

As parents, it's essential to adopt a proactive stance in identifying and addressing the root cause of behavior issues. By systematically ruling out potential underlying factors such as social, physical, and academic challenges, you can hone in on the source of the observed behaviors. Remember: a child's behaviors are often indicators of an underlying issue. To help improve their behavior, we need to figure out what's causing it and take steps to fix the root problem.


How Proactive Parental Involvement Can Support Your Child’s Learning Journey

By taking a proactive approach, parents can create a supportive framework that empowers children to thrive in their learning journey and life.

Proactive Parental Involvement

One of the most impactful ways we can support our children's education is by being more engaged in their education, ideally before issues or struggles occur. This may involve strategies like hiring tutors to provide additional academic support, increased communication with your child’s teacher, and even reading together. 

Practical Tips for Effective Communication with School Teams

Effective communication with school teams is essential in ensuring that children receive the support they need to succeed. By asking insightful questions and building collaborative relationships with teachers and administrators, you can gain valuable insights into your child's progress and tailor their support accordingly. 

Here are some practical tips:

  • Attend parent-teacher conferences and actively participate in school meetings.
  • Communicate regularly with your child's teachers via email or phone to stay informed about their academic and behavioral progress.
  • Advocate for your child's needs and seek clarification on any concerns or issues that arise.
  • Check out this checklist from the U.S. Department of Education for questions to help guide conversations with your child’s teacher.

Reading Together

Spending time reading with your child is a highly effective, yet often overlooked way to help your child’s development. 

Here are some of the benefits of reading with your child, according to the Child Mind Institute:

  • Exposure to new words and language usage builds language skills
  • Learning general information helps them make connections with what they’re learning in school
  • Learning emotions and coping techniques builds empathy and emotional intelligence

Aside from these significant benefits, reading together gives you and your child a chance to connect. And it’s a forgiving activity – you don’t have to always read the same books or at the same time each day. Your child doesn’t even have to be right next to you! You can find the time and reading materials that work best for you and your child and know that what you are doing has far-reaching implications for your child’s development.


While parental involvement is crucial, you want to be careful not to overdo it. If your child is involved in too many activities, they can become stressed and anxious. A lack of downtime deprives children of opportunities for unstructured play and self-discovery. 

Here's why finding a healthy balance is important:

  • Overscheduled children may lack the ability to manage their time and entertain themselves. Instead, they’ll expect you and other adults to structure their schedules.
  • Boredom during unstructured time allows children to develop problem-solving skills, resilience, and flexibility.
  • By providing a balance between structured activities and free time, we can foster independence and empower our children to navigate life's challenges with confidence.


Conclusion: Nurturing Your Child’s Journey

As a parent, you wear many hats: You are a navigator, advocate, and champion for your child's well-being and success. 

Given the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's intellectual and emotional development, your engagement in your child’s life is more important than ever. You play a critical role in recognizing and addressing behavior issues, making targeted interventions and meaningful progress possible.

As daunting as it can be, remember you are not alone in this journey – support is always within reach. Whether you're seeking guidance on navigating your child's educational journey, advocating for their needs within the school system, or simply in need of a listening ear, our parent coaches are ready to provide you with personalized guidance and support tailored to your family's unique needs, empowering you to navigate the twists and turns of parenting with confidence and clarity.

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