Written by: Jenna Sherman of Parent-Leaders.
It’s likely that your whole family is excited about school starting again in the fall. However, sending kids to school while virus transmission is still a concern could be a challenge for parents. Fortunately, there are some important steps you can take to help prepare you and your kids for the inevitable return to school, including adopting regular sanitization routines and maintaining physical distancing when possible.
Addressing Your Child’s Concerns
While they may be excited to see their friends, many kids could be scared to return to school.
- Have an open conversation with your child regarding their concerns about returning to school, whether it’s triggered by fear of the virus or perhaps social anxiety.
- Aim to have regular check-ins with your child about their experiences back at school, and make a plan to help them feel more comfortable if they are struggling.
- While it’s good for your child to have a grasp on what’s happening in the world around them, help mitigate their fear of COVID-19 by limiting the amount of negative news and media your child absorbs when at home.
Create a Cleanliness Plan
Establishing good cleaning and sanitizing routines is vital when your child returns to school in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
- Keep the house clean to eliminate any lingering germs — be sure to address these sneaky places where germs may be hiding out.
- If you haven’t already, help your child create a regular hand washing routine and emphasize the importance of washing hands often at school.
- Send your child back to school with a hand-sanitizing product, and be sure they know how and when to use it.
Socializing with Others
While being back at school means a return to semi-normalcy, help your child understand how to maintain appropriate physical distancing to avoid the spread of germs.
- Remembering to physically distance from others is a serious challenge for nearly everyone. However, you need to instill appropriate boundaries for your child, which means no hugging or holding hands with their friends at school.
- While it’s still not recommended to spend time with too many people outside your immediate household, the safest way to have play dates is outdoors.
- It’s likely that school will look quite different when it reopens; students will likely be kept in small groups and with limited extracurricular activities, so check with your school and help your child understand what to expect when they return.
It may take some time to help your child get used to the new way of living and interacting with others, but kids are great at adapting when given loving guidance. Explain the importance of cleanliness and instill good habits before they head back to school, and keep your home as clean as possible to help eliminate germs. Emphasize the importance of maintaining physical distancing while at school, and help your child through the process by being sensitive to the emotional stress or anxiety that may arise.