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Helping your child transition back to in-person classes at school in the time of COVID-19

Friday, September 11, 2020

Going back to school after a summer or winter holiday is a transition for children that requires time, patience, and support. Going back to school after a holiday, combined with COVID-19 virtual learning will require well… a lot more of everything!

 

Children and adolescents are preparing for their schools to open the doors to their physical campuses after more than seven months of being closed during the pandemic. As a result, they may be experiencing many emotions, including excitement and happiness after being away from their friends and familiar routine of school for such a long time, as well as anxiety and nervousness in anticipation of what is to come.
 

The fear of not knowing what to expect, such as details about their new school day, who will be in their classes, logistical factors, and how they will be able to respect social distancing rules, can all play a role in increasing the apprehension children feel as they pack their school bags and set off for school once again. 
 

Here are some tips and suggestions to help your child make a smooth transition back to school – whenever their physical doors open up again:

  • Maintain an open dialogue with your child about what they can expect while they are at school. Encourage them to ask questions; even if you do not know the answer, sometimes simply the act of verbalizing one’s worries and concerns can provide comfort and ease their anxieties.
     
  • Reassure your child that schools are following strict biosecurity measures to keep all members of the school community safe. Encourage your child to practice healthy hygiene routines both in and out of school.
     
  • Once you know the school’s projected opening date, start to re-establish routines, including:
    • the week before: eating regular meals and snacks, and sleeping/waking up routines;
    • the day before: involving your child in preparing their uniform and packing their school bag and snacks;
    • the morning of: allow for more time in waking up and getting ready to leave the house.
       
  • Identify positive factors about school and build motivation in your child about returning to school. Asking questions that foster excitement, such as, “What are you looking forward to about going back to school?”, and “What was the best thing about school last year?” can help children adopt a positive mindset.

 

Going back to school during these uncertain times can produce anxiety and apprehension as children, parents, schools, and governments navigate unknown waters. However, taking the time to plan, listen openly to your child, and model positive self-care and calm behaviours can help ensure their transition to school is as smooth as possible.

 

References:

- How can you ease back to school anxiety and stress?
Helping children transition back to school in the COVID-19 era

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