Parents and pupils are not just concerned about the risk of Covid-19, but how children will adapt to new practices, such as staying in fixed bubbles and keeping their distance from teachers.
Going back to school after a long break can be disruptive for children at the best of times. But a leading psychotherapist says there is plenty you can do to prepare youngsters for their “new normal”.
Here’s his advice: ‘’Start by asking yourself if your concern about schools reopening is genuinely shared by your offspring. Most children are happy-go-lucky by nature and optimistic about life, but they are worried at the moment because their parents are.’’
There is plenty you can do to prepare kids for their ‘new normal’. “They pick up on what is happening to the important individuals around them. Stability is also really important to children, but all of that went out of the window with the pandemic. While you can reassure them, you can’t tell them nothing has changed. They have clear evidence because they can’t see their friends or grandparents, or go to school. The fear about transmission of the virus is an adult fear. However, this is not the child’s fear. So if they seem worried, ask them why.”
Build excitement and see sadness as normal. Prepare for schools going back in the same way you’d approach the end of the summer holidays.“Give your child some positive messages and build up their excitement.’’
“Going back will mean they get to see friends and teachers and do their favourite lessons but there will be a sense of loss that this period at home is ending. They will have enjoyed time with Mum and Dad, even if you found it exhausting. Acknowledge that sadness. Tell them, ‘’I am going to miss you too and I love you’’.
Empower them to embrace the new regime. Going back to school normally brings familiarity and routine, but things will not be as they were. How do you ensure the changes do not scare them or come as a shock? “It’s really important to have an open conversation about what will happen each day, like when you first explained about handwashing and social distancing. Be honest but keep fears manageable and explained in a context they would understand for their age, balanced with real world advice and solutions. Tell them, that these changes are hard and will be hard to stick to, but it is about keeping other people safe, especially friends and grandparents’’.
Source: KK Publishers