Ensuring Your Child’s Mental Health When Returning to School During The COVID Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to stay at home, socializing and exercising significantly. This will have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

Here are some suggestions to help you and your family.

The coronavirus epidemic has dramatically disrupted our daily lives and children are bearing the brunt of these changes. While going back to school is expected and a source of joy for many students, for others it can be synonymous with anxiety or fear. Here are some tips to help your child deal with the complicated emotions that going back to school can cause.

My child is afraid to go back to school. How can I help him cope with this situation?
The stress that some children already feel normally about entering school or starting a new school year only gets worse during a pandemic. You can help your child cope well by having an open conversation about their worries and letting them know that it’s natural to be anxious.

Children may feel nervous or reluctant to go back to school, especially if they have been learning at home for several months. Be honest – you can, for example, review some of the changes he will experience in school, such as the need to wear protective equipment such as a mask. Children may find it difficult to observe physical estrangement with their friends and teachers when they are in school – you can encourage them to think of other ways to bond and maintain contact.

Reassure him of the safety measures in place to protect the health of students and teachers, and remind  that they can also prevent the spread of germs by washing his hands with soap and coughing or sneezing in the bend of  elbow.

Emphasize the positives: they will see their friends and teachers again.

My facility recommends wearing protective clothing, which makes my daughter even more anxious. What should I tell her?
Start the conversation with empathy, telling that you know she is anxious about the coronavirus, but that it is healthy to talk about herworries and emotions. Children are also likely to be upset or frustrated by wearing a mask, especially when running or playing. You can reassure them by telling them that many adults work hard to protect your family and at the same time stress the importance that we take all recommended steps to take care of the most vulnerable members of our community.

How can I encourage my child to take precautionary measures (such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without worrying?
One of the best ways to protect your child from COVID-19 and other illnesses is very simple: just encourage them to wash their hands regularly. This conversation doesn’t have to be scary. You can even make them fun by using their favorite song or making a dance together. Be sure to explain  that germs are invisible and can be everywhere. Children are more likely to adopt the reflex to wash their hands when they understand why they should.

You can also show your child how to cough or sneeze into the bend of their elbow and ask them to tell you if they are feeling feverish, coughing, or having difficulty breathing.

My child is not in the same group as his friends who go back to school and feel more isolated. How can he make him feel more in touch with his class and his friends?

If your child starts to return to school gradually, they may be anxious about not being with his friends. Continue to reassure him that the school will reopen its doors to all students as soon as the situation allows. After the schools are officially reopened, help them prepare to return to school by explaining when and how it will happen.

Also warn your child that the school may have to close its doors; this will help him prepare for the coming period of adjustment. It is also important to continue to remind him that learning can take place anywhere – whether at home or at school – and that he can keep in touch with his friends and support them online while waiting. .

Online games, social media and video chatting programs, when used in a safe and controlled manner, can be very helpful in enabling your child to keep in touch, learn and play with their friends, their parents and relatives without leaving home. You can also encourage them to use their online presence to share their views and ideas.

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