Back to School After the Shutdown: Helping Kids and Parents

Kids have mixed feelings about returning to school this fall; both excited and apprehensive. While most look forward to seeing their friends, being less “cooped up” and enjoying more social interaction, many also feel scared, nervous, and reluctant. And it's important for parents to be aware of this.

There is still so much uncertainty surrounding what to expect with changing schedules, including rotating in and out of school and having a “hybrid” of in-person classes and online work.  For many, returning to school may be especially hard after getting comfortable being at home. Others worry about having to wear masks all day and being physically distanced from friends and teachers.

In order to best help our kids and teens prepare for the return to the classroom, we must first understand both our own and our children’s feelings about the transition back to school. With this awareness, we as parents can do several things to support our kids during this difficult time.

The following are some recommendations to help parents understand and better cope with their own feelings about their children’s return to school. 

1. Accept that there is no “right” answer.

  • Many parents feel full of dread, panic, and apprehension about the decision about whether to send their kids back to school.  
  • Accept that you will feel conflicted about the decision you are facing.
  • Realize that there is no one right answer.
  • Focus on the risks and benefits, and then use this information to make rational choices.  
  • Once you come up with a plan, you will most likely have to deal with the feelings of worry, guiltfear, and uncertainty.
  • Work on accepting difficult thoughts and feelings as opposed to struggling against them.  

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Tags: Stress, anxiety, COVID-19, re-entering school, children in school during COVID-19,, children coping with COVID-19, school safety, post COVID-19, COVID-19 precautions

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