Tips for Retuning Back to School after COVID-19
Covid has been a hard road to navigate over the last year and a half. It happened out of nowhere and we didn’t understand at the time, how much this virus would affect our lives. At the time, we surely weren’t thinking that this would become a pandemic, or that everything would be shut down for more than two weeks. We especially didn’t think that schools and work would ever be shut down for as long as they had been. Now that everything is opening up again, and we’re trying to return to normal, or as normal as it can be, it can be difficult to figure out how. This is especially true as we send our children back to school. We are still dealing with some affects from covid, and this can be concerning for any parent since covid hasn’t just disappeared. Your child’s mental health and helping them to adjust to the new learning environment after covid, are just a couple things to consider when returning to school. Here are some tips on how to handle sending your children back to school after covid.
For all of us, being forced into isolation and separated from friends and family can take its toll on anyone. We were used to having constant interaction with others on a daily basis. To have that taken from us suddenly, can cause a drastic change in our mental health, especially with children.
- Be open about the pandemic. Try to discuss any fears or concerns your child may have about returning to school. Make sure they are able to voice their opinion about these things and provide the support they need to navigate these feelings.
- Stay in touch with your child’s physicians. Pay attention to any physical, or emotional changes your child may be going through because of the effects of the pandemic. Children can become more withdrawn because of the pandemic and could actually be afraid to go back to normal, because of the fear that things may change again.
- Keep teachers and school counselors in the loop. Parents can only provide so much guidance when they finally send their child off to school. If you notice anything concerning about your child, informing their teachers and counselors is just an extra safety net for your child to have, that way your child will have someone else to connect with when you’re not around.
- Set the tone. Creating a calm and relaxed environment within the home, can help to improve your child’s mental health. By limiting the fear or concerns you express, due to covid, your child will not take on that extra negative energy on top of the concerns they are already having.
Discussing the hardships of covid and allowing your child to express themselves and their own fears, can be a great starting point on how to help them to adjust to life after covid.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen many unfortunate situations that arise when people refused to wear their masks. It is important that we show our children that wearing their mask correctly at school can help protect them and their friends while they are learning. It is also important to explain that doing this can also protect their family at home. Some children, especially younger children, do not really understand what could happen if mask wearing and sanitizing steps aren’t followed correctly. Create a routine for your child to follow at home and at school to stay safe. The more that we make mask wearing a part of their routine, the more likely they will be to continue this routine at school.
Adjusting to the learning environment
For so long, most of our children have been submerged in a virtual learning experience, and it can be pretty difficult to acclimate them to an in person learning environment again. To go from logging on at home, to waiting for the bus to get to school and learn in a classroom, can be extremely difficult but not impossible. A virtual learning environment has allowed children to learn from the comfort of their own homes, which can have a negative effect on their learning ability. Being at home introduces more distractions versus having a focused environment for learning. This can be even more difficult if there is more than one child in the home that is requiring virtual learning.
Some things parents can do to help their child adjust to their learning environment are:
- Get your child back into their normal school routine. Try to make things as normal as possible and stick your routines. Your routines may differ from before but having some sort of routine will help your child adjust to their new normal.
- Explain to your child that things may be different at school, but only to make sure that everyone is safe. Explain social distancing to your child and the safety precautions that they may have to follow while at school. Explaining this ahead of time can prepare your child for any new, or possibly unusual rules they may have to follow.
- Make sure to keep your home as positive as possible, which will allow your child to be positive while attending school. Keeping things positive at home will transpire into your child’s school routine. Giving that positive foundation, sets them up for a great day of learning.
- Promote safe interactions with your child’s friends. It is important that they get back into the routine of interacting with friends at school, after being isolated for so long. Allow your child to interact with friends at a park while social distancing, or maybe virtual play dates if everyone isn’t comfortable with in person visits yet. Having that connection with friends is important for your child’s development.