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5 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Socializing and In-person Classes Post-COVID
Dated: July 24 2021
Kids have experienced a school year like no other in 2020 because of COVID-19. With schools shut down, the vast majority of students had to study at home for the first time in the country's history.
Fortunately, the worst has come to pass and Arizona schools have begun reopening in March, welcoming pupils for in-person classes for the first time in a year. Your kids will need some time to adjust to the "new normal" of schooling, but these tips can help them acclimate more quickly:
Get your kids vaccinated
The COVID-19 vaccination program has expanded to children between 12-15 years old. Getting them immunized will put to rest many of the safety concerns you and your child might have about going back to in-classroom learning. It will also make it easier for them to feel at ease and socialize with their classmates. Luckily, you can use this portal to register at the closest vaccination site to your home.
Practice being alone
Younger kids are prone to separation anxiety, especially given the amount of time they’ve spent with you over the past year. Begin practicing separation by letting them play by themselves or by leaving them with another caregiver while you're out doing errands. These simple exercises build a sense of independence and can help them feel less anxious about re-entering school.
Reframe negative thoughts
It's only normal for kids to have anxieties about getting sick when they return to school. That's why parents need to help their children reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. An anxious thought like "I might catch COVID-19 in class" can be reframed as: "I'm following all the precautions and my teachers are vaccinated, so my risk of infection is very low."
Take the time to listen
Of course, it's not just catching the virus that students are worried about; they're also worried about transitioning back into a routine and lifestyle they last experienced a year ago. From waking up early, to reconnecting with classmates, to studying in a classroom with dozens of other pupils — there's a lot to be reacquainted with in such a short amount of time. Parents should carefully listen to their kids' feelings so they can provide the needed support.
Have a coping plan
The first few days or even weeks back in school will no doubt be challenging. It's helpful to have a coping plan for your kid’s anxiety or nervousness, such as deep breathing or counting slowly to 10. If your child has anxiety or depression, it's best to have a trusted adult that your child can approach if things get too overwhelming (such as their homeroom teacher or a guidance counselor). Of course, your child should also be able to reach out to you if they need to.
Parents and students live in some truly unconventional times, so remember to be flexible and adaptable until things settle down for good. For the latest developments in Arizona’s local communities, be sure to follow our blog.
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