By: Carol Briggs, Clinical Intern
Back in March, we were all looking ahead with hope that by the end of summer, the pandemic would be over, and life would feel normal again. But here we are in August and our back-to-school planning looks a lot different than it did a year ago. Whether your child will be going back to in-classroom learning or virtual learning, the start of this school year will be challenging. Acknowledging that each family has their own unique needs and resources, here are a few things to keep in mind as we start another school year.
- Talk to your children about how things might be different if they are going back to the classroom. Allow your child to express their concerns, fears, and hopes for the year. If your school is doing virtual learning, ask your child their feelings on not being in the classroom. This will give you useful information about where your child is emotionally from the start.
- Expect changes in mood and behavior. Young children are more likely to act out stress, anxiety, or fear through behavior. Older kids and teens may become more irritable when time with friends is limited or socially distanced, and important events are cancelled. Visit healthychildren.org for tips on how to manage your child’s emotions and behaviors.
- For virtual learning:
- Stick to routines as much as possible. Structure the day including breaks, play times, homework time, and a consistent bedtime.
- Have a designated area for schoolwork.
- Create a reward system to help your child stay motivated.
- Figure out ways to help children maintain social connections, either virtually or with social distancing.
- Plan with your school on how your child will receive extra services if needed like speech therapy, or behavior services.
- If you are a working parent, plan on how to navigate work with your child’s virtual learning. Communicate with your boss. Communicate with your child’s teachers. Let’s hope everyone is flexible and understanding of the situation!
- Use your support system. Ask for help from family, friends, therapist, and neighbors. In two parent households, take turns helping with schoolwork.
- Take care of yourself. Focus on what you can do and what you can control. You can’t do everything, and that’s ok!
- Practice self-compassion. This is a wonderful thing to model for your children. Perfection is impossible.
This school year comes with additional stressors and challenges. We’re all doing the best we can and learning as we go! Remember, nothing in life is permanent. Things will not be this way forever. If you find that you need additional support, Owens & Associates has a team of therapists ready to discuss your family’s needs and work together toward solutions. Please call us at (847) 854-4333 for additional information!