13 July 2020

Supporting your child’s mental health as they return to school during COVID-19

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. Here are tips to help your children navigate some of the complicated emotions they may be facing with…, My child is scared to go back to school. How can I help him feel at ease? , 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 him 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…, My child’s school is recommending the wearing of protective clothing, which is making my child feel more nervous. What should I say to her?, Approach this conversation with empathy, saying that you know she is feeling anxious about coronavirus, but that it’s healthy to talk about our worries and emotions. Children may also get upset or frustrated if they are finding it hard to wear masks, especially when running or playing. You can reassure your children that lots of adults are working…, How can I encourage my child to follow precautions (such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, etc.) at school without alarming her?, One of the best ways to keep children safe from COVID-19 and other diseases is to simply encourage regular handwashing. It doesn't need to be a scary conversation. Sing along with their favourite song or do a dance together to make learning fun. Make sure to teach them about how even though germs are invisible, they could still be there. When…, My child is not part of the same group as his close friends returning to school and is feeling even more isolated. How can he feel more connected to the classroom and his friends?, If your child’s school starts to return gradually, your child may be anxious about being separated from his friends. Continue to reassure your child that schools will open again for everyone once it’s safe. When the official reopening of schools is announced, help him get ready to return to school by sharing information on when and how this will…, How can I gently check in to see how my child is coping?, It’s important to be calm and proactive in your conversations with children – check in with them to see how they are doing. Their emotions will change regularly and you need to show them that’s okay. Whether at school or at home, caregivers can engage children in creative activities, such as playing and drawing, to help them express and…, Is there anything I should look out for as my child starts back at school?, In addition to checking in on your child’s physical health and learning when she goes back to school, you should also keep an eye out for signs of stress and anxiety. COVID-19 may be impacting your child’s mental health, and it’s important to demonstrate that it’s normal and OK to feel overwhelmed at times. When in doubt, empathy and support are…, My child is worried about bullying at school and online, how can I talk to them about it?, If your child is worried about bullying either in person or online, it’s important to let them know that they are not alone and they can always talk to you or another trusted adult. The more you  talk to your children about bullying , the more comfortable they will be telling you if they see or experience it. Check in with your children daily and…