Parents and children both have a lot of anxiety right now about school and Covid-19. It’s natural for both to want to return to their normal routines, but now with added safety precautions and the continuous changing of Covid-19 related precautions, it puts extra strain on families. Here are some tips for families to ease the transition.
Create a consistent household routine
Most families have routines, but it’s even more important during school time to make your routine consistent. Whether your family is going to be doing distant learning or in-person learning, it is important to establish morning routines and bedtime routines that are appropriate.
About a week before school begins, start to set the clock to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. If your family has been enjoying staying up late and waking up late, it is even more crucial that you practice easing back into school schedule in increments.
Talk to your child about personal safety
Your child should know about mask hygiene and how to physically distance. Your child should know how to wash hands and sanitize hands effectively. Remind your child that it’s not appropriate to share any items with others outside of your family group right now. Hugs and close contact with friends are not options right now, so teach your child some alternatives. Help them come up with some fun foot shakes, or sign language they can use to greet others.
Calm anxieties by being open to tough conversations
Make that your child knows they can talk to you. Encourage them to bring their concerns and joys to you and explain that you are there to listen and support. Share your fears and concerns where appropriate as well. It is important that they know that you also struggle with things and that you have some strategies for managing your emotions when overwhelmed and frustrated. Create some family times that make conversations more likely to happen. For some families, this is around meals, for some families it happens when driving in the car. Whatever that time is for you, build that time into your schedule to check
in with each other.
Create a family reward system for having a good attitude
Things are especially hard right now, and we’re all living through an unprecedented experience. It’s important to recognize that it puts a strain on everyone. Having a family reward system is a fun way to provide incentives for staying positive. Perhaps you have a marble or coin jar, or a family gratitude jar. You might create a special wall space to have family members posting notes to each other. Some families have a little toy that they surprise family members with like a practical joke, to remind each other they’re trying hard. They might leave the toy on the person’s favorite cup, or by their pillow.
Whatever your family chooses to do to give each other rewards, remember that humor goes a long way!
Remind yourself and your family members that this is a challenging time for everyone. People they interact with are also experiencing this, and there are many emotions. Having good physical distancing and hygiene, being willing to talk through hard things together, maintaining good family routines and having humor through it all will help your family thrive through all the unknowns. And when you need to, remind your family that they can do hard things!