Transitioning to learning at home has been difficult for children, teens, and young adults around the country. However, as teachers and students prepare to return to the classroom, they must now transition again. After spending so much time at home and interacting via video calls, chat rooms, and other digital tools, the idea of going back to a busy and noisy classroom feels daunting to many. Although a lot of students might have missed seeing their friends in person, they're now also out of practice when it comes to interacting in person. So how can you prepare or help your child to prepare to go back to school after remote learning?
Know What to Expect
Feeling apprehensive about returning to the classroom is normal. One of the reasons many students might be unsure is that they don't know what to expect. This could be because of changes made to classrooms due to COVID-19 or it might even be because they missed their first year in a new school. Dealing with these fears and uncertainties should involve understanding and talking about what things will be like and how they might be different. Find out how things could differ compared to before, such as social distancing measures or wearing masks.
Talk About Feelings
Discussing the feelings that students are feeling around returning to school is important for all ages. There might be excitement about going back to school and seeing friends or making new ones, but there can also be more negative feelings about making another big change. It's important to talk about the emotions that may come up both before and during the return to school. This might be with friends and family, or perhaps with a therapist or another trusted person. Being able to openly discuss feelings and understand that others are feeling the same can be very helpful.
Self-care is an important part of mental health care at any time but is especially important during times of transition. There are many ways to practice good self-care, from spending time doing something fun and relaxing to taking good care of personal hygiene. Self-care includes looking after yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of your needs should be met in a balanced way. Good self-care helps people to feel better about themselves and can allow them to check in with how they are feeling on a regular basis.
Building Social and Coping Skills
Being away from the classroom so long may have had an effect on many students' social skills and ability to cope with different situations. Building these back up again, and focusing on self-esteem and confidence, is key as they begin to return to school. A lot of students might feel anxious about being around other students and teachers again, finding it hard to socialize and communicate in person instead of through technology. Working on those skills will help students feel comfortable being at school again.
Going back to school after remote learning might be tough for some. Bridge to Balance can help, with individual and group therapy available.