Talk To Them About COVID-19 And New School Regulations
When talking to your kids about going back to school, it will be important to acknowledge that things may not be the same as they were before. Firstly, you may want to recap with them about what COVID-19 is and how it is spread. Next, explain how they will be expected to behave once school reopens, making an emphasis on keeping physical distance (even from their friends) and wearing a cloth face mask. You may also want to advise them about temperature screening and how to practice good hygiene while at school.
All of this new information may be frightening for children. Try not to overburden your child with too many facts or instructions. Have an open discussion with them instead and listen to what they have to say.
Look Out For Signs Of Anxiety
Children express signs of worry and stress in different ways than adults do. Look out for disturbed sleep patterns, bed wetting, loss or increase of appetite, irritability and a demand for more of your attention.
Respond to these cues in a calm and supportive way. It is your job to allay their fears and concerns, not to criticise their feelings. Ask them if they have any worries about going back to school or get younger kiddies to draw you a picture of what they fear. Reassure your child that they will be alright and that you will be there to support them. If your child isn't responding to conversation, make time to play a game with them or do something creative. Kiddies will often open up about their concerns when distracted by a fun game or play activity.
Make It Fun
How would you usually get the kids ready for school at the start of the year? Try to incorporate some of those routines into this back to school run. Encourage the kids to pack their school bags early and make a list of any stationery or books they may need. Talk about what they would like for school lunches and which of their friends they are excited to see again. Reinforce in your children's minds that school is a positive place for learning and their own growth.
If you have anxieties about sending your child back to school, try not to project these fears onto them. Discuss your worries with your partner or a friend in private. Remember that this will probably be good for you, too. With less distraction and responsibility if you are working from home, your productivity will likely increase. Don't forget to take a little 'me time' every now and then, as well. A happy parent, is a good parent after all!
If your children won't be returning to school any time soon, check out these super handy teaching resources for parents to use at home.