Preparing your child to go back to school after Covid
It’s that time again! It’s the middle of summer and us parents are probably ready to pull all our hair out. Just in time though, back to school is right around the corner, but this year things are a little different.
Whether you spent your quarantine completely isolated or partially isolated, reintegrating back into society is a big change and can bring about much anxiety. Especially for our little ones who are not only confused by what is going on, but may be fearful as well. Trying to prepare for this and the challenges that may present themselves during the reopening is extremely important.
Planning ahead is an extremely valuable tool that we have available to us at this time. Since Covid is still here and prominent, it’s important that both you and your child are aware of the safety precautions set in place.
Explaining to your children what the safety precautions are for: what they do, why they are in place and how they can save people’s lives can help children create connections between the safety precautions and their own personal morals and beliefs. These connections make your child more aware of the precautions and are more likely to follow them! For example, if you have a family member who is at high-risk, explaining to your child why it is important to take the extra precautions and possibly even more precautions than their peers, will help them to understand the consequences and advantages of these rules and make them feel more inclined to follow and even spread their new knowledge to their friends.
Plan for some challenges that may arise.
We know that too often in the school classroom, things happen: kids cough, they sneeze, allergies are high, masks fall off and break, kids touch, and they get dirty. We don’t want our children to be afraid of these things, but we do want them to be cautious of them and know how they can handle these situations and still stay safe.
Get a fun hand sanitizer to keep around belt loop to use when mistakes happen (like forgetting to wash hands, or sneeze on themselves.
Know where extra masks are, who to ask, or bring some for themselves
Remember to wash hands
Prepare for accidents and slip ups
Anticipate Nerves and Worries
For kids who have spent the past year isolated and worried about getting sick, reintegrating back into social life can be scary and worrisome. Sit down and talk to your children about some of these anxieties they are having and some things they are looking forward to.
Getting your child to talk about these worries, gives you the opportunity to help them cope and redirect these negative thoughts. For example: if your child explains they are worried about getting sick a good way to direct these worries is by helping them to verbalize how they feel and what they are doing about it, for example: “I know I am worried about getting sick, but I will be wearing a mask, using hand-sanitizer, and trying to keep my distance so really I’m taking the steps to stay healthy and safe!”
Continue Checking in Over the Year:
These anxieties don’t go away after the beginning of the year, they evolve with your child and continue to develop as the year goes on. Communicate with your child how their anxieties have changed, what new ones have risen, how they overcame their old anxieties and what new things they are looking forward to.
As they talk about their new anxieties, continue to remind them how strong they were for overcoming their past ones and remind them how they can prepare themselves for these future ones.
Ensure you are looking for signs and symptoms that there is a problem, such as irritability, isolation, low mood, lack of motivation, difficulty sleeping, lack of enjoyment of normal activities and decreased concern for safety.If in doubt, considering counseling as a resource can be beneficial.
Stay persistent, flexible, and adaptive. Kids need stability in their lives, especially during times of hardship and times of change; so, try your best to stay present with them. Stay predicable and consistent with your behaviors, this may be the only point of stability they feel in their lives right now.
Whatever you do, be there for them and make sure you are following their lead as much as you can.