Schools across California closed down mid-March when the novel coronavirus spread to the Golden state. Since then, online classes, homeschooling, and distance learning became the norm.
Recently, as states lift some COVID-19 restrictions, school districts have returned to in-person instruction for the fall semester.
After the Sacramento County moved into the state’s less restrictive COVID-19 red tier, schools prepared to welcome students to campuses for in-person instruction. After months of social distancing, parents, guardians, and caregivers have to decide whether to send their children back to classrooms while the threat of the global pandemic is still looming.
Needless to say, it’s an anxiety-inducing and pressing decision on every parent’s mind; they need to make difficult choices for themselves and their children. A poll from ABC News showed that 45% of parents didn’t want to send to their children to student-filled classrooms.
In this blog post, we’ll share helpful advice aimed at relieving stress and dealing with difficult feelings that accompany this process.
Acknowledge and Accept the Uncertainty
An important part of healthy emotional coping during the ongoing pandemic is to accept that you feel conflicted about the decisions in front of you. There isn’t a clear plan of action and there are always going to be risks involved, but it’s important that we focus on what we can control.
By listing down options, costs, and benefits— keeping the kid(s) at home vs. having them return to school—parents can reason their way to better decisions. Anxiety and uncertainty often predispose us to consider just one option and dwell on how it might go wrong. Try to counter that by considering both perspectives.
Also keep in mind that kids pick up on parents’ stress and anxiety and can’t help but experience that negative energy as well. So, it’s important that you talk about your thoughts with your spouse, family, peer group, or even a mental health professional if needed.
Help Children Deal With Their Anxiety
It’s normal for children to feel equally anxious about the new school year starting. They may worry about COVID-19 transmission to their grandparents and spending time away from family and pets.
Create a positive atmosphere and encourage an open discussion at home about the upcoming academic year, giving your child the opportunity to voice their fears and anxieties. This is vital for them to overcome their own anxiety-provoking thoughts.
If you do decide to send your kid(s) to school, talk cheerfully about the new school year and take them for back-to-school shopping (with the necessary precautions, of course) to give them a sense of normalcy.
Regulate their sleeping and eating schedules. When your child’s mind and body are nourished, tackling school worries is easier.
Equip Children with Situational Knowledge
Reiterate what social distancing means, how to wash hands thoroughly (and often), and other timely lessons. Role playing is also advised. Pretend your son’s classmate offered your son a bite of his donut and ask how we would respond in that situation.
Make up real-life situations to get your kids to think in advance about what they would say or do in these circumstances.
If you’re having a hard time making up your decision, reach out to the family medicine specialists Natomas Family Practice in Sacramento. They can give you some peace of mind by providing general health and wellness care tips to the whole family.
Get in touch with our team to set up an appointment.