School is just around the corner for most kids. While that typically means things like back-to-school shopping and getting supplies ready, there are some added things to think about this year.
Last year, most schools across the country switched to virtual/remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some schools had their own online portals, and others utilized other programs to keep their kids caught up with the curriculum. While online learning was an effective way to salvage the school year, many kids struggled with it.
It can be hard to pay attention, not every child has access to quality Internet, and it takes away the one-on-one attention some students need. Plus, kids missed out on so many “normal” things, from spending time with their friends to playing sports and being involved in extracurriculars.
Now that most schools are reopening this fall for in-person learning, how can you help your child transition?
Talk to Them About What to Expect
One of the worst parts about the pandemic was that it made everything feel so uncertain. Things seemed to change unexpectedly regularly. At times, it was difficult to keep up with new regulations and restrictions. If those things were difficult for adults, imagine how hard they were for kids to fully understand.
So if your student is feeling anxious about heading back to school because of the “unknown,” talk to them about it. Sit down with them and go over what they can expect this year. If your district is enforcing things like mask-wearing and social distancing, explain that to them too.
The more your child knows what to expect as they transition back into a school building, the less anxious they’ll be.
Create a Routine
One of the best things you can do to make the transition back to school easier for your child is establishing a daily routine. Kids of all ages need a routine to feel comfortable and secure. But every child’s routine is different. It’s about what works best for them and for your whole family, so create something that works for your family.
The most important thing is that it’s consistent each day. Not sure where to get started to develop a routine? Consider some of the following steps:
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same times each day
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Have time to practice self-care in the morning
- Stretch, exercise, or meditate
- Create a daily planner for them
Once your child gets into the swing of a routine, it’s something they’ll look forward to. Even if going back to school feels uneasy, a routine can depend on each day.
Get Help as Needed
There have already been multiple studies about the mental health effects of COVID-19. Unfortunately, the initial information isn’t great. There have been a huge spike in loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression throughout the country during the pandemic, and children aren’t immune to those issues.
In fact, teenagers are among the highest group at risk for developing a mental health condition, and kids face more stress than most of us realize. The big problem is they don’t always know how to process it or even identify it. That’s why one of the best things you can do is continuously talk with your child. Check in on them, and don’t be afraid to ask how they’re feeling or if they’re facing any struggles.
If your child is worried about going back to school, they’re not alone, and as a parent, it’s natural to be concerned. However, if you’re not sure about how to help them, consider working with a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often used to help with anxiety—especially in children, and it can be used to calm anxious thoughts.
If your child doesn’t feel ready to go back to school and it’s negatively impacting their life, feel free to contact us for more information.