How can parents and caregivers best support their kids as they head back-to-school? What challenges might kids face this year given the pandemic?
Back-to-school is going to look and feel REALLY different this year. Parents, school districts, and communities are scrambling to figure out what learning environment best meets their unique situation. Whether your child will be learning online, participating in a hybrid model, or some other format, this school year will be filled with change.
As parents, we know that big changes can be stressful for kids. Here are three challenges kids may face as they begin the school year and three messages parents can share to help.
Back-to-School: 3 Important Messages to Share to Help Your Kids
Challenge #1: Social distancing + changing environment + uncertaintly = increased anxiety
Parent Message #1: “School is going to look and feel different this year. Change can be hard sometimes. I’m going to keep checking in with you to see how you are doing. I want you to know that I’m here for you as we navigate changes.”
Challenge #2: The pandemic has had a big impact on kids’ social world.
Some kids stayed in touch with friends through social media, virtual meetups, or text, while others did not. Some families permitted their kids to get together with friends, while others did not. Many schools are breaking kids into smaller groups or moving online, so friends will not be able to connect at school as they have in the past. And, many families are struggling, so kids may not behave as their best selves.
Parent Message #2: “This year, focus on being a good friend instead of focusing on others’ behaviors. Stay flexible, kind, and open to new friendships.”
Challenge #3: On-line learning burnout, social changes, and uncertainty may challenge motivation.
Most students have been physically out of school for 5+ months. Getting back into a school routine, especially in a different environment, may take extra time and support.
Parent Message #3: “I know this is hard. We can do hard things. Let’s brainstorm ideas that will help.”
Going back-to-school this year is going to require flexibility and most kids will need more support than usual. Since this is a stressful time for parents too, be sure to find support when you need it. Wishing you and your family the best as we navigate the school year ahead.
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