Our kids ran a gamut of emotions when school buildings closed earlier than usual this year. They missed their friends. They missed their teachers. Now, as some schools start to reopen, or plan to in the fall, kids are going to go through all sorts of emotions yet again.
They’ll be excited, but they may be nervous too, especially with many schools staggering schedules and attempting to limit class size.
So how can we, as parents, support our kids with their big feelings? By supporting their mental health as much as possible, according to UNICEF.
How Can We Prepare Our Kids For The Changes at School?
Classrooms and schools may look different this year, and those changes need to be addressed with our kids. Start by having a conversation with your kids to see what they’re feeling and thinking about school. Let them know you’re there to answer any questions they may have. If they have a particular concern about school, let them know it’s okay to feel what they feel. Then help them address those feelings.
The other big part of preparing our kids for the new school year is talking about the new school routine.
I remember when my daughter started PreK at a new school, and I talked her through what her day would look like, from start to finish. In a sense, that’s what we need to do with our kids now.
Once we know what the school schedule will look like, and what the school’s expectations are, tell your kids about them. They’ll want to know what changes to expect, like if they’ll need to wear a mask to school, if there will be temperature checks, how many kids will be in their class, etc.
The list of changes goes on, of course, but the more we can prepare our kids for what they’ll see and experience on their first day, then chances are, the less anxious they’ll feel.
What if my child is worried about getting coronavirus?
Even my three year old knows about coronavirus. Talk to your kids about what safety measures the school is taking. Also, remind your kids about things they can do to prevent germs from spreading, like coughing or sneezing into their elbow and washing their hands frequently. My youngest child, for one, has gotten pretty good at singing “Baby Shark” while he sings his hands.
Once the kids are back in school, chances are, they’ll have even more questions and possibly concerns. Keep checking in with them. They need to know that any big feelings they have are normal — but you’re there for them, no matter what.
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