How to Handle Back to School Stress Amidst New COVID Regulations
Last March the world shut down. Businesses closed, offices sent their employees home, and schools chose to go online. Slowly, the world has begun to heal, but students are being sent back to school this fall with many uncertainties still buzzing in the air.
Whether you’re crossing your fingers for remote learning or pushing for children to return to school in the fall, both crowds can agree on one thing: the children are entering an area of the unknown. There are many unanswered questions circulating as schools in the United States reopen in the coming weeks, such as:
- Will my child be safe?
- How can I keep them safe?
- What do I tell them?
The stress for both students and parents (and even teachers) will look different for upcoming classes, as opposed to previous years where primary concerns focused on homeroom teachers and class schedules and buying supplies on time. Now, the country is looking at mask policies, social distancing procedures, and even online alternatives.
Everyday life doesn’t look the same for children as it did a year ago, but school is supposed to be a safe place. It’s supposed to be a place where children, no matter what they’re going through at home, can have a sense of normalcy. This school year is going to look different from years past, but there are ways that they can feel supported and heard during this transition.
Possible Cause(s) of Stress Entering the New School Year
The classroom is going to look different for children whose parents opted for them to return to the classroom this fall. There will be social distancing procedures as well as mask mandates that may be confusing for some children, and they may ask some hard questions with no easy answers.
- Why can’t I sit with my friends in class?
- Why do I have to wear this mask all day?
- When will things go back to normal?
How to Cope with Stress
Though the answers aren’t available at the moment, that doesn’t mean they have to be avoided. Give your child a little hope by saying that there are people hard at work to get the world back to normal as soon as possible. Depending on the age of your child, you can make them feel important by telling them that they can help by wearing their masks, and that by following the social distancing rules they’re helping the doctors who are hard at work searching for a cure.
You can tell your child that they are your superhero.
Be sure to let your child know that they can come to you with any questions or concerns as the school year progresses. This will benefit both of you, because while you’re helping to ease some of your child’s anxieties, you’re staying on top of what’s bothering them.
This school year, while scary at times, doesn’t have to be a battle fought alone. You and your child and the school can all work together to make this transition as seamless as possible for all parties involved.
We’ll get through this together.