When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the majority of schools shut down to in-person learning. This shift to virtual learning meant lots of children suddenly lost a significant part of the school experience and thus social interaction. Plus, with so many other restrictions, not to mention the desire to keep our kids healthy and safe, even things like playdates became almost obsolete.
Now that we’re seeing a slow and steady return to in-person school, recreational outings, and playdates, it’s natural to wonder how kids will adjust. For some, their children might be eager to jump back into the swing of things. However, you might notice that your child seems a bit more apprehensive than usual.
Perhaps your child is worried about what they will remember when they go back to school. Or, maybe they’re nervous about how their peers will treat them. Perhaps, your child has developed a bit of a shy side during Covid. No matter what the reason, here are a few questions that might be bouncing around inside your kid’s head:
Post-Covid Your Kid Might Wonder...
- Will I understand what my teacher is trying to teach me?
- What if I can’t stay focused for a whole class period?
- I’m nervous about being away from home; is it safe?
- Will my friends be the same, or will they treat me differently?
- It’s hard for me to hear, how am I supposed to understand what people are telling me when they have a mask on?
- I’ve gotten used to staying home, why can’t I just keep going to school online?
If your child seems to be lacking confidence post Covid, don’t panic. Instead, try these helpful tips to get your child back into the swing of things.
Set Up Small Play Dates or Social Activities
Depending on your child’s age, schedule some small play dates or age-appropriate activities with a couple of your child’s peers. You can plan a picnic and game time at a park, set something up in your backyard, or go to a fun location.
For example, you can bring your child and a few friends to play a round of mini-golf or ride bikes. This gives your child some opportunities to readjust to being in a social setting with a less intimidating crowd and with familiar surroundings.
Talk with Your Child… And Listen
Always ensure you’re available to talk with your child. Ask your child open-ended questions. For example, “What are you most nervous about these days when you go to school?” These types of questions allow your children to talk more than simple yes or no questions.
More importantly, know when to stop talking and just listen to what your child has to say. Maybe your four-year-old is going on and on about how sad they are about the squished bug on the slide. Or your 12-year-old is worrying about an upcoming test. No matter the topic of conversation, it’s important to your kid, which means it needs to be important to you.
The OjO Story Creations game has been recommended by Dr. Koslowitz as a great game for starting conversations with your kids. Tell stories and get talking about the big stuff.
Don’t Push Hard; Stay Patient
Let your kid take it slow and steady. Don’t try to shove them back into everything all at once and expect it all to be like it was. Think about it; are you back in sync yet with all of the changes going on? Probably not.
Don’t expect the impossible from your children. Stay patient, encourage them with gentle nudges, but don’t push too hard too fast. If your kid feels like you’re pushing them, it will only add extra pressure to their plate.
Set Aside Time to Help Your Child with School Work
Plan to spend a little extra time than usual helping your child with their homework. Not only will this give them some additional support, but it also shows your child they aren’t in this alone. If there’s something your child is struggling with, knowing you’re willing to help them will help motivate them to keep trying.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Finally, sometimes, no matter how hard you may try, you might find you or your child need a little more support. Whether it’s a tutor for a particular subject, some extra learning resources, learning some mindfulness techniques, a counselor to talk to, or maybe you need a support group of parents experiencing similar challenges. Asking for help is a sign of strength, so don’t be afraid to seek it out.
What’s your biggest challenge so far as we navigate this post-Covid world? Share in the comments so we can help each other out!