The coronavirus outbreak has caused major disruptions to daily life and children are feeling these changes deeply. While the return to school will be not only welcome but exciting for many students, others will be feeling anxious or frightened.
At Lakes Region Mental Health Center, we recognize the uncertainty that a return to school may have on both children and their parents. And to address these concerns, our Child and Family clinicians are providing additional services that support the social and emotional well-being of children and their families.
Starting school or starting a new school year can be stressful at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. You can make your child feel at ease by having an open conversation about what it is that’s worrying him and letting him know that it’s natural to feel anxious.
Children may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school, especially if they have been learning at home for months. Be honest – for example you could go through some of the changes they may expect at school, such as needing to wear forms of protective clothing like masks. Children may also find it difficult being physically distanced from friends and teachers while at school – you could encourage them to think about other ways to bond and stay connected.
Reassure children about safety measures in place to keep students and teachers healthy and remind children that they can also help prevent germs spreading by washing their hands with soap and coughing or sneezing into their elbow.
Remind children about the positives – that they will be able to see their friends and teachers (if they are physically returning to the classroom) and continue learning new things.
As children often take their emotional cues from the key adults in their lives – including parents and teachers – it is important that adults manage their own emotions well and remain calm, listen to children’s concerns, speak kindly and reassure them.
We encourage you to reach out to us for support during this very challenging time. We have immediate appointments available so please call us at 603-524-1100.