by Sara Hamilton, CGA Family Engagement Specialist VISTA – Cactus Middle School
It’s time to start preparing your children to return to the schoolroom, but this year it will entail more than simply buying school supplies. As in-person instruction has been disrupted for more than a year, it is important to prepare your kids mentally to go back into the classroom.
Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, offers seven recommendations for preparing your children to return to onsite learning in an article she wrote for CNN:
- Plan ahead — Boost your children’s confidence by reviewing their school’s safety precautions together. Plan for when rules change or accidents occur.
- Talk about worries — Call a family meeting where your children can talk about their fears, worries and excitement.
- Anticipate some nerves — Practice reframing worries into truthful statements. For example: “I’m scared I am going to get sick, but I know that I am doing all that I can to stay healthy by wearing a mask and social distancing.”
- Check in on mental health — Do not hesitate to reach out to your pediatrician or mental health professionals if your child is not handling the transition well.
- Don’t expect immediate change — Set realistic expectations and be patient in establishing a new groove.
- Stay adaptable — Things will remain dynamic for a while. Be flexible.
- Be present, consistent — Children need stability, especially during this time of change. Be present, predictable and consistent.
See Chaudhary’s full article at www.cnn.com/2021/03/24/health/returning-to-school-after-covid-wellness/index.html
Remember to use your resources! If you are unsure how to best implement these practices or are having a hard time handling the transition yourself, reach out to a representative from your child’s school (such as a counselor) or a therapist.