Many students spent all or part of the 2020-21 school year in online classrooms.
The new school year means more of those kids are going to back to brick-and-mortar learning, albeit with some extra precautions as the COVID-19 pandemic waxes and wanes around the country.
As tough as the transition was to digital learning, the transition back to school may be even more difficult. Some students may have picked up a little extra anxiety about returning to a crowded classroom.
Talk about Anxiety
Well in advance of returning to school, talk to your children about what worries them about returning to in-person learning. Ask questions such as:
• What are you looking forward to most?
• What are you looking forward to least?
• What are you concerned about?
Don’t discount their fears. Hear them out and give them a safe space to share what’s on their mind.
Practice Makes Perfect
Review the school’s safety protocols and rules with your child so that they know what to expect. Have them consider what to do if their mask falls off or what will happen if a classmates falls ill. Also get them used to different routines.
For instance, your child’s school may be eating lunch in the classroom instead of in the cafeteria, or they may be doing physical education in a different way. Talk to them about all the eventualities they may encounter and let them know that, no matter what, they’re going to be OK.
Check on Mental Health
Get in the habit of regularly checking in on your child’s mental health before they return to school. Once school and the chaos of scheduling hits, it’s good to already be in the habit of looking in, and, on their end, they know they can talk to you anytime, about anything.
Stay Flexible and Adaptable
It’s not going to get back to normal overnight, if ever. Keep some flexibility and adaptability when it comes to your student. Know that their grades, abilities and interests may have changed during the pandemic and be ready to accept that.
Things are different now, remember, for them as well as for you. Give yourself both some grace.