For nearly all of 2020, school transitioned to virtual learning for nearly everyone. Children, teens, and college students had to ultimately adapt to a completely different learning environment: their house. Having peers or a social environment was no longer, and students were subjected to attend class or do homework entirely online. You may be wondering how to talk to them about going back to school after COVID>
This was incredibly stressful, perhaps even traumatizing for some children, as the world they once knew completely changed. It was stressful to navigate a laptop or tablet, and difficult to retain their attention from their home. Although teachers made efforts to make virtual learning special, it was difficult for a lot of kids.
Having to learn something online was frustrating. Parents took on the role of being both mom/dad and a teacher outside of virtual learning. Alongside providing enough attention and energy to their children, the whole family experienced some form of stress during the pandemic.
Now that schools are reopening for the Fall, you may wonder how to talk to your child about returning to school after COVID. Maybe they never attended in-person schooling before, or they are hesitant to return due to social anxiety. Here are some tips on facilitating this conversation with your child, and what you can do to best support them.
Going Back to School After COVID: Have an open discussion
A major thing to do for your child is offer them a safe space to discuss their anxieties or worries about returning to school. This can look like checking in with them to ask how they are feeling about it. An example would be: “I know that school is coming up next month. How are you feeling about it? Nervous? Excited?”. You want them to know you understand their anxiety for going back to school after COVID.
Practice active listening with your child. As parents, we want to be able to jump to the rescue and wash away any worries they may have. However, it’s actually very valuable to them for you to sit there, listen to them, and understand what they are saying.
Active listening includes giving them your undivided attention and being able to repeat things back to them. For example, if they discuss being scared to see their friends in person again, you can say something like, “I understand that you are feeling anxious about seeing your friends. It makes sense to me.”
When children feel validated, they feel heard, and comfortable with expressing hard emotions.
Encourage them to open up about their difficult feelings and praise them for sharing. “Thank you for sharing that with me, I’m glad I know how you feel now”. Ask them if you can help ease their nerves in any way, whether it be talking about what to do when anxiety comes up for you, or even talking about your own anxiety with it.
By normalizing the dialogue of talking about anxiety or worries, you are creating a safe space for your child to come to you. To be able to feel vulnerable in sharing what’s going on for them. Having your child trust in you is so important to establish that connection between the two of you. And, they will be comfortable talking about other things with you!
Child therapy with a child psychologist in Simi Valley, Ca, can provide parents with tools to parent their children in a positive and supportive way.
Going Back to School After COVID: Create a routine for your child
To help ease the transition back to school, establish a routine for your child prior to the year starting. This can look like getting started on nighttime and morning routines a few weeks earlier than their start date.
By creating this structure for your child, going into their official routine will not be as shocking or different for them. Having practice in going to bed at a good hour, getting plenty of rest, and waking up early to enjoy breakfast with you will be very beneficial.
Depending on their school standing, you can practice certain things with them such as knowing where their classrooms are, who their teachers will be, where their cubbies are, and more. You can even take a walk around the school together to familiarize them with walking around; being able to navigate the halls well before it’s go time.
Establishing a routine for homework can also help them get into the habit of it when the time comes. Set aside a designated homework hour and instead of fake homework, do a fun activity with them, like drawing or reading. Help them lay out all necessary supplies and become adjusted to following that routine when in school.
Child therapy in person in Simi Valley, Ca, for anxiety can help your child learn how to better express themselves to you!
Going Back to School After COVID: Consider seeing a child psychologist
In the end, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. Not only will a child psychologist be able to help your child work on their anxiety or fears, but they will also be there to support you. At Simi Psychological Group, we are very family oriented and want to make sure that we are engaging with all family members.
As a parent, you want to be able to provide your child with all the answers – to soothe all of their anxiety away. However, sometimes, maybe you don’t know all the answers, and don’t know how to solve their problems. Maybe you are stressed out about it yourself, and don’t know how to ease your own nerves either.
Child psychologists are trained and experienced with work with children on a range of issues. They will be able to help your child open up about their anxieties or fears with returning to school. By providing your child with tangible tools and coping mechanisms, they can learn to self regulate their emotions.
More about Simi Psychological Group:
We are a team of psychologists and therapists in Simi Valley, Ca offering an array of therapy services.
At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County