Kids will respond to online learning in different ways this month, says psychotherapist in Ottawa

An Ottawa psychotherapist recommends that parents and students focus on daily rituals and routines as the school moves online for the first two weeks after winter break.

And Natasha McBrearty of Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Center said children will respond in different ways to online schooling and school closings this month, and it’s important to listen to their concerns.

“So looking at your days, maybe planning them with your kids if they can strike up a conversation with you and making a plan that will encourage them to do a little school, but also keep a little bit of joy. and fun during the day, ”McBrearty said. during an interview on CTV Morning Live.

“Routine and predictability are so important to kids, especially in a time of great uncertainty. It doesn’t mean that every minute has to be, you know, nested and micromanaged, but it does mean that there is a natural flow into the day and there are things the kids can count on. “

Classes resumed online for elementary and secondary students on Wednesday after the two-week Christmas break after the Ontario government decided to close schools to in-person learning in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19.

McBrearty admits that it will be difficult for children to switch to online learning so quickly after a break from school.

“I think the first thing is really to take stock – recognize how you are, how you are feeling. It is much easier to be there for your children when you yourself are in touch with your feelings, taking caring for yourself and recognizing where you are at it, ”McBrearty said.

“The second element looks at what you can control and what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy.”

McBrearty and the Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Center offer tips for caring for yourself and your family during the transition to online learning.

  • Practice compassion. Recognize that isolation can be stressful

  • Make a daily plan. Routines provide security and predictability

  • Virtually contact your family, friends or neighbors

  • Go out for a walk or other exercise

McBrearty says children will respond to online school in different ways.

“I think you’ll have kids who are thrilled, it’s like an extension of a vacation break; and you’ll have others who are just – they went through online school, they hate it, they’ve already built up some resistance, “McBrearty said.” So I think kids are going to react in different ways, and what’s really important is validating those feelings and really listening to their concerns. “

If you are worried about your child, you can request services through The website provides quick access to a free consultation by phone or video, available in English and French.

You can contact us if you or your family are concerned about more than one issue; including anxiety and depression, behavior problems, grief and loss, drugs and alcohol, isolation and loneliness.

CHEO is holding a town hall Thursday evening to discuss how parents and children can deal with school closures and restrictions.

You can find more information here.


McBrearty says Counseling Connect is for everyone in Ottawa and surrounding areas.

Since its launch at the start of the pandemic, there have been between 800 and 1,000 phone calls and video conversations through Counseling Connect each month.

“It’s been really tough for everyone. I think everyone reacts in their own way. There’s a whole range of frustration, sadness, anxiety and even anger,” McBrearty said in an interview on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

“I think people judge how they feel, they look around and say, ‘Well, maybe I didn’t hurt as much as that other person’, but I have to say that everything the world lives it in their own way. and all of these feelings are valid. For people who feel upset or overwhelmed, please do not hesitate to contact us as there are appointments available and I think sometimes people are surprised at how much you can get out of one session. “

Counseling Connect’s youngest client is three years old, while the oldest client is 99 years old.