Working with kids I usually get the unfiltered truth, it’s my favorite job perk.
Unfiltered truth has in the past led to some interesting responses when I ask about being ready to return to school after the summer break. My back-to-school inquiries typically elicit moans and groans that are far more dramatic than necessary. This year however, as one would expect after a year like 2020, responses have been different.
Many kids are extremely excited and enthusiastic about getting back in the classroom. They are desperate for socialization and normalization. Others are anxious and scared after a long year in the safety of their own homes.
Temperature checks, masks and socially distant desks may be slowly become a thing of the past, but society and schools still aren’t quite back to normal and for a child that can be very disruptive. Whatever your child is feeling about the upcoming year, there’s still time to make the start of school a successful one with a few simple steps.
- Increase Socialization. Most kids have lost a year of socialization. Interaction with peers is an essential part of development for all kids, so set up the play dates and consider saying yes to sleepovers! Allowing your child to play with friends not only lets them to catch up on lost time but may lessen the anxiety of being around peers again once school starts
- Help them feel like they have Control. We feel better when we are in charge, it’s no different for kids. Give your child the opportunity to make as many small decisions as possible leading up to the start of school. It will give them back a sense of control. Let them decide how to spend those last days of summer, pick out that first day outfit, decide what to pack for lunch.
- Communicate. Listen to your kids about their concerns, talk openly and validate their feelings. Let them voice any fears they may have and address them honestly. Keeping secrets or not telling the truth will cause your kids to lose trust in you.
- Educate. COVID is scary, especially when you don’t have all the details. Make sure your kids understand fact from fiction and where to find reliable information when they have questions.
- Be Patient. It may take some time for your kids to adjust but kids are resilient, they’re bounce back a lot quicker than we do!
For more information on how to support your kids check out these links:
- Guidance on returning to school safely during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Coping With Back-to-School Anxiety During COVID-19
- Back-to-School Anxiety During COVID