Five expert tips to prepare your child for going back to school post-COVID-19
After months of no school due to the coronavirus, most children have fully settled to the new norm across the globe. But what happens when they go back?
Depending on where you are in the world, right now you may be preparing for your child to return to school after weeks or months of home schooling. And after a significant time spent at home, the thought of returning to the classroom with large groups of children can be understandably scary for a child.
Here is a quick guide on how to psychologically prepare your child for return to school.
Is it safe for children to go back to school?
With the pandemic still dominating the headlines, it’s understandable that parents and children may be worried about the safety of returning to school.
Some countries saw their children return earlier this year, however, the situation is different in the USA. The government remains strict about opening schools due to the increase of positive cases.
But wherever you are, you can rest assured that your school will have strict measures in place to ensure that children can return safely.
How to guide your child on their return to school
When the time comes, parents have the responsibility of preparing their children to return to school. It is a psychological process that will affect each child differently. Here is a quick guide to help you ease your child back into school and their new routine.
Mentally prepare yourself for the changes
Going back to school inevitably means a change in your home routine. And as with any change, it’s helpful for everyone if you’re prepared for it. For example, if you’ve been home schooling for months, you may not have had to get up as early. And breakfast may have become a more leisurely affair.
But with a school run to resume you’ll need to get into the routine of being up, dressed and breakfasted by a strict time each day. To ease into it (and lessen the shock), why not start your new morning routine a few days before school goes back? This way there will be one less change to deal with and you’ll experience a smoother transition.
Support your child
Going back to school may cause some anxiety and panic for your child. They may worry about the change in their routine, being among larger groups of people again, and even worry about the virus.
Your role as a parent is to help reassure them and give them coping strategies if they need them. For example, if they’re getting stressed about upcoming assignments, you could look into an essay writing service to help them.
Or if they’re worrying about returning to school, you can contact the school to see if they have any advice. Your child’s teacher may be able to contact them for a chat to reassure them, or you could even ask if your child could have a tour of the school before they go back, just to make it seem more familiar.
After months away from school, your child’s friendships might have cooled. So see if there’s any way they can reconnect before going back – maybe by online chat, texts or even playing an online game together. If it’s allowed where you are, you can even meet another parent and child for a walk outside or a playdate in the park.
Open up conversations about going back to school
The first day back at school will elicit different emotions for your child, and it can often help to talk about them. So initiate conversations about how your child is feeling. If they’re worried, you have an opportunity to reassure them, and even take practical steps to mitigate their fears. Even just talking through worries can help put them into perspective and help them to feel better.
When talking with your child, it’s important to practice active listening. Don’t be too quick to dismiss a worry, or offer a solution. Hear them out and let them know that you genuinely want to know what they think and feel.
Try not to be too quick to judge, either. It’s important to build trust so your chid feels that they can come to you with anything that worries them, without fear you’ll get angry.
Going back to school after a time away is going to be a strange and maybe worrying experience for your child. But once they’re back, they’ll quickly get used to the new routine, and everything will feel familiar again. So help them through this period, and try to help them build resilience and ease any worries.