There are young people and children who were looking forward to going back to formal education, but there are some who weren’t. There have been a lot of changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – like improved hygiene, social distance, smaller classes, and there is also the possibility that some friends will not be there, that might make people feel strange about going back to school. The changes might be even harder on those with additional needs at schools like Treloar School, and the parents and carers may need the support too. Below are some tips that will go a long way in helping you with the transition when going back to college, school, or other formal education.
It is important to prepare them and let them understand the difference between the norm and the current situation. Talk about the changes that have happened – like class sizes, lesson schedule, social distancing, and whether they are going to meet all their teachers and friends.
Focusing on the good things
Always try reassuring them that things are going to be back to normal because it is not going to last forever, and they should not have any negative feelings because it will pass. Talk to them about the future, and what they are looking forward to. They should also try focusing on the positives any time they are worried.
Talking about being careful
Go through the steps the school is taking to make things safe, and also what they can do themselves to protect themselves from the virus. This is going to help by easing anxiety in both you and them.
Re-establishing a routine
Having a routine in place can be reassuring. You should look at what worked before and try replicating it. This is in terms of activity and sleep, and healthy eating. Look for new routines that work for the current situation.
Reconnecting with friends
Have the kids been communicating with their friends since the pandemic started? Are they worried about their friendship weakening? Even if the kids have been in touch with others, it is a good idea to find out whether there is anything they need reconnecting, provided it is within the limits of restrictions.
Helping them solve problems
Discuss with them the changes they have had to deal with and how they coped with the lockdown, and how they are currently dealing with the restrictions – will this come in handy if the schools are closed again? Are there techniques and strategies they have used before that they can use now?
Children with additional needs
If you are taking care of a child with special education needs, autism, disabilities, or mental health issues, then you can expect to deal with a little more stress because of the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Change can be bad or good, and there is a good chance it is going to affect how you feel. The national lockdown might have been hard for them, or dealing with local restrictions while having a harder time adjusting to school reopening. If the kid is struggling to adapt, being honest with them when talking about the situation is very important, and also talking to them about keeping safe. Have them take part in activities they enjoy because it might make them feel better.
Ask the school if they can send you videos and photos of changes they have made, and also details on what kids can expect when they go to school. This makes it easier to talk to them and help them understand what has been happening and why. Practising hygiene, social distancing, preparing a new routine, and other measures like queuing safely and handwashing will go a long way.