The planned return to in-person learning on Monday has drawn mixed reactions from students and families. As we prepare for the return to school next week, some are eager to connect with their peers, educators and get back to the routines and structure they are used to. Others express stress and even fear about returning to in-person learning. We are part of your child’s circle of support and our staff are here to support you and your child through this transition.
As parents, there are things you can do to help your child manage this transition. Recognize that everyone reacts to stress differently and make sure your child knows there is more than one way to feel. As mentioned, some may be excited to return, some may have no reaction, and others may be anxious about it returning. This can manifest in different ways. Your child may seem tired, irritable, angry, complain of headaches, etc. His emotions can change. Look for changes in behavior, sleep, and eating habits.
Some ideas to support your child:
- Deal with your worries first and be calm. Children watch what we do not what we say.
- Find times to connect with your child, these don’t have to be long to be meaningful.
- Listen and keep space for their feelings “I hear you, it makes sense you’re worried”
- Be open to questions and discussion
- Avoid over-reassurance. If they keep asking the same question, come back. “You said it before, it’s stressful. Can you remind me what we said last time when you asked this question? »
- Focus on what you can control and model healthy coping strategies. Be open with them about how you are handling stress right now. You are an important role model for them.
- Engage them in problem solving. What do they think could help and explore what has helped in the past.
- Offer choices whenever possible. “Do you want to set an alarm or do you want me to wake you up in the morning to go to school?” “Do you want to walk home or should I pick you up?”
- Provide structure and start the routine early in preparation for Monday (sleep, eat, etc.)
- Limit media exposure for you and your child. It can overwhelm any of us these days.
- Look for the positives and practice gratitude together. Find one little thing every day that brings you joy. Create a space to laugh and play.
- Know that we are all doing our best and showing compassion for you, your children and each other.
Ultimately, know that there is no such thing as perfect parenting at the best of times, and there certainly isn’t through those times. As Ottawa Public Health staff previously wrote, “perfect” is canceled until further notice. Do your best and know that enough is enough for now.
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, please contact your child’s teacher to discuss possible supports or contact the following community services. .