Expat Magazine

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Mint Mocha Musings @nicoledwebb


Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Y’all know I’m very picky when it comes to running sponsored posts on Mint Mocha Musings – but this one had me at hello. It’s such an important one for so many of us the world over right now, no matter which part of it we live in.

In the past year, if you’re a parent, it’s highly likely you have home schooled at some stage, many for much longer than others…and many are still going.

There’s no way of sugar coating it – lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a period of enormous change and uncertainty…and one we still really don’t know when will end.

For most children, the school closures were sudden, forcing them and their parents to adapt quickly as we all faced a long and unprecedented period of home schooling.

Looking back, so far in Sydney we’ve been really lucky. I had a nine week period of home schooling with Ava and now it’s almost situation normal. We hope.
But around the world, children are starting a new school year with a massive amount of confusion and anxiety weighing on their backpacks…and the need to be adaptable has never rung truer.

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Social distancing measures may mean that school will be different to how it was before the lockdown. For some kids – school times may change or they may only attend school two or three days a week. In the classroom, pupils might be divided into smaller groups and socialising restricted. I’ve seen friend’s children in America with giant, clear perspex dividers between each student. And for many, masks are no longer an option, they’re a necessity for survival.

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

It is important to prepare our children for this new experience and
the challenges it may bring. For that reason, I’ve been more than happy to team up with Allianz Care who wanted to bring you some tips on how to adjust to the new school year.

Communication is Key

Obviously, as always, communication is vital. Talking to your child about their concerns is the number one thing you can do to help them adjust. 
Some might have the usual concerns about going back to school, but on top of this, they may also be worried and anxious about the impact of coronavirus and what the school experience will be like; of course feelings and concerns could depend on their age too.
If your child seems overly anxious or worried, reassure them that their feelings are completely normal and emphasise that you and their school are making every effort to minimise any impact on their school experience.

Let them know that you and their teachers are always available to listen. 
There’s no doubt most children will have been sorely missing their friends and routine during the coronavirus confinement period and the return to school will be a welcome return to normal.

Talk with your child about what they are most looking forward to about going back to school, and remind them of all the positives that school life brings.

It’s also a good idea to talk to your child’s teachers before talking with your child about the return, to make sure you’re also fully informed about what will stay the same when school returns and what will change. Not everyone likes surprises and preparation is often key with kids – giving them the chance to know exactly what to expect before it hits.

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

There may be specific requirements that your child’s school has put in
place which both you and your child need to be aware of and adhere too.
Once you know what to expect and what safety protocols are in place relay this information back to your child in a positive and age appropriate manner.
Each school and country will have different rules for sending children home and getting covid tests, so try to prepare your child as much as possible for these possible outcomes.

The tests themselves can be quite traumatic for children so your comfort will be paramount. 

If they’re required to wear a face covering/mask during school time, let them know. Have them practice wearing it, so that they’re comfortable and ensure they have an extra supply should they need them. In addition, teach your child thecorrect way to wear their face covering.

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Putting on a face covering:

  • They should wash their hands thoroughly before touching the face covering.
  • They should ensure the face covering has no holes or tears.
  • If the face covering has ear loops, they should hold the covering by the ear loops and put the loops around each ear.
  • If the face covering has ties, they should hold the covering by the ties and bring the covering to their nose and tie securely.
  • They should place the face covering securely over their mouth and nose, ensuring there are no gaps.
  • They should be able to breathe easily.
  • What should be avoided when wearing a face covering:
  • They should avoid touching their face covering while wearing the face covering.
  • They should not use a wet or soiled face covering.
  • They should not wear a loose-fitting face covering.
  • They should not rest the face covering around their neck or on their forehead.
  • They should not share face coverings with other pupils
  • When speaking they should not lower their face covering.
  • They should dispose of face coverings safely and hygienically.
  • Remind your child about the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Reassure your child that the measures which the school has in place are to help ensure their safety and that of their teachers and classmates.
  • Remind them that they too must do their bit to prevent any spread of coronavirus by washing their hands regularly and practicing good cough and sneeze etiquette. 

Get back into routine

Regular routine may have gone out the window during the confinement period. It’s possible set bedtime and wake up times, have gone out the window!

During confinement your child may have stayed in their pyjamas for longer in the morning or have become used to morning TV while you tried to address other work and home commitments. Maybe they spent more time on computer games than you’d usually accept.

To help ease back into the school routine, it’s important to gradually re-establish routines before the first day back.
Get the morning routine back on track which prioritises getting dressed, brushing their teeth and hair and eating breakfast. Gradually re-set the rules.

It might pay to revise some maths, writing, reading and other school work too.
You may have let home schooling slide for a while, knowing your child would be returning to school soon. (No judgement here!)
Your child may have concerns about having fallen behind in their studies though, so reassure them everyone’s been in the same boat and their teachers are prepared to help get everyone back on track.

Keep the Conversation Going

When school finally does reopen and your child begins to settle into their new routine, ensure you keep the dialogue going. Ask them how their day was, and let them know that you’re available to address any concerns or worries they may have.

Be sure to check in with their teachers to find out how they’re progressing.
The return to school will be a significant milestone for your child, and may present many challenges. However, with some advanced planning and good communication between you, your child and their school, you can reduce any detrimental impact on your child’s wellbeing and education.

Allianz Care international health insurance can help members and their children with the transition back to school, by providing you with an Assistance Programme, where you can speak with a professional who can offer support. The service offers confidential support for mental, financial,  physical and emotional wellbeing and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week and 365 days a year.

Here’s to Happy School Days! (And happy parents.)

Back to School: Helping Children to Adjust During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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