Back-to-school season is officially in full swing! You might be picking up your child’s fall wardrobe at Bellies and Babies, but it’s probably unclear whether or not those clothes will see the inside of a school building. After all, this year isn’t like any before it.
Although older children probably have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on, little ones might not know why things are different this year. Here’s how to talk to your child about this school year, the coronavirus, and how they can keep themselves, their classmates, and their family safe:
The Science of Sickness
Explaining the situation in scientific terms makes things clear, and provides a learning opportunity:
● Start by giving your child an accurate, age-appropriate explanationof COVID-19.
● Empower them with knowledge about how they can stay safeno matter where they are.
● Teach them about cleaning, and howitems likedisinfectant wipes keep us safe from spreading the virus.
● Show them this video, where Bill Nye shows why masks make a difference.
To School, or Not to School?
Prepare your kids for changes this school year:
● Prepare your child for uncertaintyby letting them know that school may start in person, then move to virtual, or vice-versa.
● If your school district is considering a blended schedule, prepare them to be in and out of the classroom.
● Assure them that you will give them the tools to learn from home, such as reliable accessto the internet.
Soothing Doubts and Anxieties
Knowledge is fear’s best antidote:
● Encourage your child to express their fears or anxietiesabout the upcoming year.
● Help them come up with a plan to stay safe, such as routinelydeep-cleaning your home, thorough handwashing, and respecting social distancing.
● Give them tools to cope with uncertainty, and help them practice these coping tools as the year goes on.
● If they’re really struggling, look into pediatric teletherapy.
This is likely to be a tough year for many families, but facing the challenge head-on will help. In doing so, you give yourself and your little ones the tools to get through. Give yourself and your family plenty of grace: You are navigating uncharted waters together.
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