Tips for Preparing your Child for Back to School during COVID-19
The beginning of school is stressful both for parents and children in every way, and the current situation makes preparations even more difficult. This school year brings about many worries, including the fact that the children have not actually been to school among their friends for a long time. That is why we have prepared a couple of guidelines to make it easier for you to prepare your children for back to school during COVID-19.
Children see the current situation in a different way, whilst some can hardly wait to return to school, others have completely forgotten about it. However, mostly everyone agrees on one thing – they miss their friends. Older schoolchildren found it easier to socialize outside of school, while younger ones were deprived of the socialization that is necessary and very important for their development.
We cannot even imagine the consequences of children not going to school again, because school is not really just about learning, but a lot more.
Parents as well have faced great uncertainty, because they still do not know exactly what the procedures and rules in schools will look like. Uncertainty often leads to numerous fears, so it is important to talk to children a lot about this matter before returning to school.
Once the rules are clearly defined in schools, children at the class level will slowly adopt them in school day by day. Teachers will play an important role in this, as they will apply preventive measures together with children, which must become an essential part of children’s everyday lives. The children are confused and it will certainly not be easy for them to adjust and adapt to these new special circumstances for attending school. This is why it is important to be very understanding and ready to answer all their questions.
Upon returning to school, a great challenge could be a child’s need to belong to a group, as well as the need for closeness with friends, which is contrary to the obligation to respect the rules of social distance prescribed by security measures. This situation can very often be interpreted as childish disobedience, so it certainly requires additional explanations and conversations as to why the rules must be followed.
It is important to explain to children that they must be careful, but they should not be intimidated in any way. Finding a balance between these extremes is certainly not easy, so give yourself time.
Many families have suffered a loss of loved ones due to the virus, which is why it is important for children to get familiar with the fact that many friends can find this a sensitive topic and that they must be especially empathetic during this period.
Children need to regain daily routines and work habits that have been overshadowed because of the isolation and a long period of missing regular school attendance.
A period in which nothing is certain and definite is ahead of us, and that can cause a feeling of insecurity in children.
It is necessary to prepare children for changes that may now occur from day to day in terms of the organization of school lessons as well as the possibility that work in schools could be suspended again at some point.
One thing is for sure though – we cannot prepare for all the possible situations that we might come across. What we can do is talk to our children and ask what they worry about the most regarding the current situation, and try to find answers to the doubts that both we and our children have. Let’s try to look at the current situation from a rather positive perspective, if possible, and not to convey to children the anxiety and feeling of helplessness that can make it even harder for them to go back to school during COVID-19.
About the author: Marijana is a facilitator in the Novak Đoković Foundation’s program for parents “Support, not perfection“. She is a pedagogue by profession, an expert associate in a primary school. She is a mom of two schoolchildren at the time of the coronavirus. She is someone who believes that children are the world’s most beautiful ornaments and our best teachers.