“Prepare how you always would any other year, yet, put it up a notch,” says Dr. Ryan Loss of Connecticut Behavioral Health, noting that Covid makes everything more complicated.
But, first, start with the basics – like getting back into a normal wake-up and bedtime routine.
“Those are the big ones because it’s all about getting kids in the right behavioral mind space to be able to operate effectively once school starts up,” says Loss.
He thinks the return to the classroom could be really tough for kids who spent the last year learning from home on the computer.
“So getting them used to, ‘This is what you’re going to be exposed to – last year wasn’t like that you learned via computer and this year it’s not an option,'” he advises, adding the following advice if they really push back. “Try to work with the school. Schools are going to be sensitive to that, preparing for that now in terms of trying to educate teachers – make accommodations and modifications for that.”
Also, don’t be afraid to talk with teachers if you think your child is missing social cues due to masks. “When we talk about kids executive functioning and really interpreting those cues and being able to respond appropriately, you’re missing a lot of that from the eyes down,” he says.
Let’s talk about teens. Will there be social problems between high school students who are vaccinated and those that are not?
“Try to create the differential of – we have our view on vaccinations, other families may believe differently, we have to respect those differences,” says Loss, with more tips on what to say if vaccination status gets in the way of friendships. “It though may impact how much time you spend with them and that might stink but it’s part of the world and we need to focus on keeping you safe.”
Be vigilant about masking but understanding if your child gets frustrated.
“They’re going to get tired of it, not in an oppositional way but just tired, fatigued by it as adults are, as well,” says Loss.
For younger kids that might have trouble adjusting back to the classroom, set up some playdates in the next week or two and consider having them wear masks with their friends for practice.