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3 Tips To Help Your Kids Cope With Back To School

The words back to school have always come with excitement, fear and everything in between but even more so in 2020. It’s been months full of decision making that we wouldn’t typically need to make. On a happy note the choice of deciding between returning to school, virtual learning or homeschooling has passed, that was a hard one for our family. It’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong decision as each family decides what’s best for them. 

I’ve realized back to school will have it’s challenges no matter which method your family has chosen. To help, even a little, I’ve put together 3 Tips To Help Your Kids Cope With Back To School. These are all things we are doing in our home that have been effective and keep us staying positive!

  1. Ask, Watch & Listen

As parents we need to check in with our children and ask them how they’re feeling or doing. Many parents are working from home and are busy, but it’s important to stay connected. Our kids don’t always know how to tell us when they are concerned or have fears, however, there are usually visual signs of anxiety or stress such as:

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Withdrawn from regular activities
  • Decreased appetite
  • Change in mood

Questions You Could Ask Your Child:

  • How are you feeling about back to school?
  • What are you most excited for? Why?
  • What are you least excited for? Why?
  • Are you worried about how school will look this year compared to last year?
  • Do you have any questions about school?
  • What would you like to learn from home this year? (animals, countries, history, etc. Get them involved and they will have more fun)

The most important part of asking questions is being patient and listening to their responses. Sometimes kids are vague in explaining, so more often than not, follow up questions are needed. Asking questions about back to school shows your child you are open, willing and available for conversations. If your children are anything like mine they insist on deep conversations at bedtime. Although the timing isn’t ideal, it’s always a good idea to listen to what they’re asking especially if it’s a concern.

2. Stay Informed

We as humans love information. It’s why Google is such a popular search engine, it’s why the news is always on and why we have our phones by our side at all times. Children are no different, they are curious, always taking in information and learning. As a parent I do watch how much information I’m giving them about COVID-19, however, I have been keeping them informed about safety precautions. If your family has chosen returning to school there will likely be additional safety measures to get familiar with.

Your child will be learning of safety measures in the classroom, but as the parent, be sure you are as well. Staying informed with up to date information or processes makes everyone a little more comfortable with the transition. And, when you are both informed you can have better conversations and feel more comfortable about it.

Children's gratitude journal for back to school anxiety

          3. Stay Positive While Staying Safe

          However back to school looks like to you and your family it’s important you stay positive. That doesn’t mean you can’t be open about struggles or have bad days, it simply means looking for the good and focusing on what you can control. Stress and anxiety come from focusing on things we can’t control, so stay present, mindful and positive about back to school. A few ways your family can do this together is:

          • Practice gratitude as a family: You can keep a journal such as The Making of a Grateful Heart, or simply go around the dinner table saying what each of you are grateful for.
          • Have fun as a family: Back to school can be hectic, but plan some time as a family doing a fun activity, bike ride, walk, game or so on to keep everyone connected.
          • Eat well, rest and exercise: These forms of self care are great even for kids and make a significant difference in how we, and our children, face the day and stay balanced.

          Back to school can still be a fun and exciting experience, whether it’s in the class or in the home! Children watch what we do more than they listen to what we say, so be sure to express your concerns but also show them your enthusiasm. School in 2020 will be much different then we are all used to, however it can still be enjoyable.

          I hope your child’s return to school is safe, fun and positive no matter where it is!

           

          Here are a few resources for back to school anxiety you may find helpful!

          https://www.cheo.on.ca/en/resources-and-support/resources/P6225E.pdf

          https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/7-tips-for-educators-returning-to-school-during-covid-19/

          https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/helping-your-child-cope-with-back-to-school-anxiety/

          https://www.verywellfamily.com/tips-to-ease-back-to-school-anxiety-620832