Overcoming School Year Fears
The first day of school often brings jitters to students and parents as well as teachers. But this year, those jitters aren’t just about friends, classes and homework. They’re about how to attend school wearing masks and staying socially distant, or perhaps how to attend school remotely, how to cope with the cancellation of cherished school events and, above all, how to avoid contracting Covid-19.
Here are some tips for making this transition easier:
1. Remember, you’ve got this! Keep in mind you’ve already had a trial by fire of sorts when last spring, schools closed abruptly and officials had to scramble to set up remote learning and find substitutes for end-of-the-year events. This time around, school officials have had time to make a plan, to get comfortable with technology, and to secure equipment that will keep kids safe and make going to school remotely or in brick-and-mortar buildings easier.
2. Stay informed! Schools have been and will continue to inform parents about their plan for keeping kids safe and for how classes will be run. They may have to change plans depending on Covid cases in the area. While it is also important to watch and read the news to stay informed, avoid watching so much that you (or your children) become fearful or overwhelmed.
3. Ask questions! If you have questions and concerns about your school’s plan for safety or delivering content, it is your right to voice them.
4. Notice the signs! If you or your child exhibits regular signs of depression, anxiety about going to school, becoming withdrawn, feeling overwhelmed with remote or in-class learning, sleeping problems, etc., reach out for help right away. Professional help is available 24/7. You are not alone!
5. Empower your child! Feelings of helplessness can cause anxiety, and so give your child as much power as appropriate for his or her age level. For example, let younger children choose a mask that displays a favorite color, super hero, animal, or cartoon character. Allow older children who are learning remotely to choose a reward for completing daily tasks. Any empowerment can help a child feel less helpless and anxious. And, maintain clear, consistent communication with your child as you and your child navigate this pandemic.
6. Give them hope! Let your child know medical professionals all over the world are working hard to establish the best safety procedures and to find a vaccine.
7. Give them perspective! Assure your child that if someone at their school gets COVID, it doesn’t mean they will get it, and that most everyone gets over the illness in a short time.
We are better together, and despite the many problems Covid-19 has caused, it also has connected us with people all around the world who are experiencing the same changes to daily living that we all are facing. There are many innovative, positive and compassionate responses that have resulted during these challenging times. We will get through this together! Rest assured that this too shall pass and a new and better paradigm shift in our world is on the horizon!