One of the big impacts of the COVID19 pandemic has been that school moved to an online environment. Some would say “not a bad thing” as it meant children could continue their learning, just in a changed way.
For some students they may have thrived in this ‘new’ learning environment but for others it has meant feeling lonely and isolated. No one realizes how not having contact with friends impacts us, emotionally.
Online Became the New 'Normal'
COVID19 protocols shut down ice rinks, and places where children could gather with their friends to do what they love doing, practicing their hockey skills and playing.
So, the world shifted and with that shift came a new way for your children to interact with the world – 100% online. In order to connect with their friends and feel part of a community they can no longer be part of in person, they joined online gaming groups. At least there they could meet up with their mates and have some fun, just like they used to do at the rink, or other places.
Along comes the ability to be immunized against this coronavirus and the world starts slowly opening up again. The winter weather is thawing, and the world is becoming a place where outdoors and interaction and now more allowed.
But your child has been used to only interacting with their friends online. That became their new ‘normal’ so how can you get them to begin to shift back to their old practices of going outside to shoot pucks, or practice their skills?
Supporting the Change To Outdoors Again
Firstly, the thing to remember is that your focus needs to be on connection. That is what your child is gaining from all of their online interactions. Connection with their best friends. Connection with an online group or community. So, in order to move them away from that they are going to want connection in return.
You might only see this whole thing in black and white. They used to go outdoors and play or practice. Now all they do is spend hours inside on the computer playing games or talking to their friends. And that in actual fact is what is happening at the physical level, but what I want you to begin to understand is what is happening mentally.
As I have mentioned it’s connection that has them running to the computer to play games online. That is where they can feel a part of a community, something they can talk about with others that is familiar. So for that reason the process of moving them away from that means you need to substitute what they are getting from that environment.
It Is All About Connection
In order for them to fulfil their emotional need for connection you need to supply something that does just that. A suggestion is to go outside with your child and spend ten or fifteen minutes with them practicing or running through their drills.
Why would your child want to go outside alone, when they can have a sense of connection and being part of a community inside on the computer? They wouldn’t. They would prefer the connection and community every time. Wouldn’t you?
So, have some fun. You take a break from your busy life and go spend quality time with your child. Watch them practicing their slap shot. Have fun with a few pieces of paper with scores on them, just like the diving or figure skating judges do.
You spend time being their Goalie and letting them shoot pucks past you. This quality time not only strengthens your relationship, it gets them outdoors and off the computer and engaging in what they love, only not alone. They feel supported, part of something bigger and they have the connection they otherwise seek from the computer.
Having trouble with the mental side of the game of hockey? Karen Cherrett, Mental Skills Coach can help with that. She coaches players to understand how their thoughts impact their game; Parents how to support their child's mental wellness; and Coaches to understand mental skills management for their players.