Going back to school after the summer break can be stressful for some kids, especially after a year of remote learning. While some kids thrived with distance learning, most did not. For the majority of children, distance learning came with its challenges and has taken a mental and emotional toll.
With most schools set to reopen in just a few weeks, it’s normal for both parents and kids to have mixed emotions. Some kids might be feeling excited to see their friends, yet uncertain about how to keep their physical distance from their peers and teachers. Others might be scared they will catch COVID and get sick. Whatever it is your child might be experiencing, the good news is you can support him or her through this transition. You can help your child to feel at ease by having an open and honest conversation with them. Let your child know their feelings are normal. One of the easiest ways to help a child feel heard and understood is to validate their feelings. You might say something like, “I hear you feel really worried about going back to school. And that’s okay. Why don’t you tell me more about what’s going on?”
If your child is concerned about their health and safety, reassure them of the safety protocols that are in place. Remind them of what’s in their control and ways they can keep themselves safe (such as frequent handwashing for 20 seconds, physical distancing, and mask-wearing). Let them know the transition back to school is a process and it might take some time for them to adjust to all the changes. Remind them of the things they are most excited about, whether it’s seeing their friends, their favorite teacher or being back in a routine.
Finally, know that it’s okay to ask for help with your child’s mental health. There’s no shame in needing some support. You can reach us at (925) 820-8447.
Christine Holmberg, LMFT