There are ways to ease the transition back to school for kids, parents, and caregivers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not all children will have had the same experience during the pandemic. When they return to school or start online classes, circumstances will change—again.
Navigating the changes has been like to traveling through a storm, says Adria Dunbar, an assistant professor of counselor education at North Carolina State University, and a former school counselor and elementary school teacher.
“Some people don’t have a life vest, but they’re making their way; some people have lost a paddle,” she says.
Here are her tips for parents helping kids make the transition back to school in whatever form that takes:
- Embrace the ambiguity. Parents might not be able to be as concrete about the future as they would like, but they can model how they react in flexibility, empathy, and relinquishing control.
- Emotionally prepare. Parents can talk with their children about their feelings about school, and start preparing them. Talking about their feelings can help children prepare mentally, and parents might be able to identify circumstances to help kids prepare.
- Learn the rules, and help children learn them. Dunbar says parents can start preparing their children for new rules by learning about them, and repeating them to help kids feel confident and capable.
- Find small ways to give kids a sense of control. Dunbar says that might mean setting up a space for learning in the house if they will be doing online learning, or allowing kids to pick out their school supplies on a shopping trip.
Source: NC State