Easing Back-to-School Jitters After A Long Summer

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

 

It’s understandable that children have a lot of mixed emotions about this school year. It’s important to talk to kids about this early so that they can begin to process and address any worries. It’s also important to talk about what they are looking forward to, and build enthusiasm. Information and previews - of both joy and changes, can be your guide.

Parent Tips:

  1. Share age-appropriate information, details and pictures available from Waterford Weekly and FAM. Your enthusiasm when describing the upcoming school year will be contagious. If possible, safely connect with a friend from their class list.
     
    • Preschoolers/Kindergarten:  Describe the fun they’ll be having at school, as well as that they’ll be washing hands frequently, wearing masks and keeping a safe distance from others (two arm lengths, length of a home sofa). Dressing up toy animals in masks and playing school is a fun way to practice skills.
       
    • Lower School: Discuss the new rules, answer their questions about how it will be the same and different. For example, desks will be further apart and they’ll be eating lunch in their classroom. They still have homeroom, specialists, and play on the playground. Explain adults are responsible for making sure everyone is safe and that these new rules are important to follow.
       
    • Middle School/Upper School: Discuss the new guidelines and what they can do to engage in safe, healthy behaviors. Address how it may impact their after school and extracurricular activities.
       
  2. Answer their questions. Simply having a discussion will help ease some of their anxieties. When unsure of an answer, it’s O.K. to say, “I’ll find out”. 
     
  3. Normalize their fears. If your child is upset or worried, explain other kids are probably feeling the same way. Everyone will be getting used to the new rules together. Reassure them that their teachers know this and will support them.
     
  4. Name the people available at school. Let them know they can talk to their teachers or Dr. Boller (LS) or Dr. Johnson (MS/US) if they are feeling worried or upset. 
     
  5. Reassure and normalize that changes may occur from in-person to remote learning. Explain that change is part of practicing safety and wellbeing. When you set up a home study area, consider having your child personally “decorate it” and create a space that could  serve either scenario.
     
  6. Now is a good time to get back into the school routine. Going to bed earlier and waking up earlier takes time to become a new restorative sleep/wake cycle. 

This article includes excerpts from Amie Duncan’s article of this title. Read that entire article here.