How To Talk To Your Children About Back To School With Covid-19

The New Back To School

Well, here we are.

August back-to-school dates are quickly approaching and with no end to Covid-19 insight, it’s time to have the talk with the kids about what Fall 2020 looks like. Here are some tips to have a productive conversation that won’t leave your kids worried about the fall.

Dr. Serin’s Suggestions:

1)   Don’t project your upset on to them.  You may be upset that my kids won’t be returning in person on time, but your kids might actually be fine about it.  Leave space to find out how they feel instead of assuming they will feel how you do.  Smaller children won’t be able to understand what the changes mean, and some kids (like mine) might actually be psyched that they don’t have to go in person.

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2)  Be calm when you start the conversation. Stay calm to help them regulate any upset.  Listen, stay calm, empathize with them and speak to any of their fears. Find ways to reassure them.   Smaller children might have irrational fears that are easy to dismiss but make sure you address those fears for them even if they don’t seem logical.

3)   Let them know you will work together to make adjustments as things shift. “We still don’t know when it will be safe to return.  It might be August 17th, it might be later than that but we can trust ourselves to make a good decision for you and the family when the time comes and if it doesn’t work we can always make a different decision.”

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4)  Emphasize that you are all on the same “team”. Let them know you will be working together to make the best of the situation.

5)  Don’t be afraid to start incentive charts.  Positive motivation isn’t bribing and it can go a long way to helping kids stay motivated.  Let them know if you are planning to do this and remember that intermittent rewards work better than checklists or the same reward for something each time.  Tokens or “bucks” that can be traded in for small prizes or privileges work best and if you have more than one child, siblings can also work together to earn rewards.

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6)  Be easy on yourself.  This is an extremely difficult time for most of us.  Whatever your situation is, remember this isn’t permanent and we are all in this together.  Hang in there and, as always, we are here for you if you need help.

VIDEO: Dr. Serin speaks with AZTV Daily Mix

It may be hard to remember that this is a temporary situation and there will come a day when we will be able to rejoice, hug each other, and gather in large groups without our smiles covered by masks.  In the meantime, I hope your family stays happy and healthy.

Sending you healing energy from the safety of home!

– Dr. Serin