Back-to-school 2020 is a hot topic that has caused great debate division on every online platform.
This passion is present because we care deeply about our little human’s mental and physical well-being. No matter what the decision your school district or your family makes for back-to-school 2020, you’ll also need to focus on your child’s emotional needs.
That, I can help with!
#1. Be gentle with yourself.
First and foremost, be gentle with yourself. Frustration, anger, disappointment, worry, or fear that you are feeling is a normal reaction to what is happening in our world. It is only when you validate yourself you can clear your mind to gain a new empowered perspective.
#2. Prepare your little humans.
If you ask most kids if they want to go back to school, they will most likely say, “yes”. Like so many of us, kids want to get back to normal. But back-to-school 2020 is going to be anything but normal!
Some kids who have always wanted to stay home may have gotten used to distance learning and do not want to go back.
If you choose to send your kids to in-person school, learn about what you can about the school’s plans for your kids’ grade. Then, to prevent them from feeling shocked, anxious, or overwhelmed, paint a picture for them.
Have them close their eyes and picture school. Rather than make it sound scary, take them through a guided visualization featuring calmness and empowerment.
Go over minor scenarios and problem-solve with them on how to handle them. This will give them the confidence and mental readiness with a growth mindset. Focus on skills and adaptability instead of limits.
#3. Get kids comfortable with wearing masks.
Help your little human get used to and comfortable with masks by wearing them frequently. Let them build up to many hours a day so they get used to it. It can be like wearing prescription glasses. You might get dizzy the first day if you wear them too long. So it is helpful to build up to them gradually if you haven’t already. Do different activities around the house with masks so they get more and more familiar and comfortable with the new normal.
They are in good company. Nobody likes masks! Try not to spend energy hating the mask. This will exhaust them and you. It can make kids feel anxious and troubled. You have to model adaptability to them. You have to model that we can do hard and uncomfortable things and still be safe.
The more they are used to masks, the more they will adapt to expressing and reading people’s eyes and body language to improve connection.
#4. Practice good hygiene.
This is one of the hardest things because people tough their eyes, nose and mouth constantly. Present company included! And, now we have to train ourselves not to. For kids, especially if they have been home all this time, haven’t had to practice this yet.
Try to come up with fun ways to learn not to touch one’s face. Set a timer and play a board game and see if your little human can practice spending longer and longer periods of time having enough awareness to stop touching their faces. Even if you decrease this a little bit, it decreases risk.
Hopefully, schools will probably give time to wash their hands throughout the day. Still, practice when they would be doing this. Kids love to touch things. Especially sensory kids, so make a plan for them to wear a belt with fringe on it or something to regulate themselves during the school day.
Remember this. You got this! You have done hard things before. You can get through this, too. Same for your little human.
When kids have so much tension and stress, they can’t learn the academic content. We need to help them regulate their nervous system. As a conscious parent you are helping your kids build confidence by showing them how they are empowered problem-solvers.
It will actually help you, too.
Loretta Holmes, MA is the founder of Bella Coaching Services and is a certified life coach and NLP practitioner where she coaches little humans and moms who are affected my anxiety skyrocket their life. Loretta enjoys competing in cycling races, walking along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, and hiking with her doodles – Riley and Sweet Stella.