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Back to School We Go! – Prepare Your Child Emotionally

Back to School We Go! – Prepare Your Child Emotionally

With the school year just around the corner, it is vital to consider advice from experts about our children’s mental well-being and prepare them for school reopening.

The coronavirus outbreak has caused significant disruptions to daily life, and children are feeling these changes deeply. Although children appear to be less prone to be infected by the coronavirus than adults, they may be more fragile from a psychological viewpoint and present anxiety, behavioral problems, and fear due to isolation.

Monarch All Health – Team

While returning to school will be welcome and exciting for many children, others will feel anxious or frightened. Dr. Rina Santiago-Guia, co-founder and Clinical Director at Monarch All Health in Homestead, suggests taking a personal approach depending on each child’s age group, as a child under the age of five behaves differently than older kids.

However, one of the essential aspects that parents should consider is to prepare their children for the changes that they will face when schools reopen. “Parents need to find out what’s the school district procedure for reopening and to let the kids know how things are going to be, so they can follow instructions from teachers accordingly, she said.

In July, the Miami-Dade School Board unanimously approved a plan that calls for Miami-Dade Public Schools to rotate among in-person, online and hybrid courses, depending on the county being in Phase 2 of its reopening plan. However, if the county is still in Phase 1 by the start of the school year on August 24, schooling would be held entirely online.

In the latest months, Monarch All Health has seen an increase in anxiety cases in children. “Lots of kids are having severe anxiety issues because they’re concerned their parents are going to die, or something bad will happen to them. This is likely to be causally related to how we explain this situation to children,” she added.

It is very challenging for children under five to understand that there is a virus that can cause harm and can even cause death. It is very difficult to explain that without creating anxiety and fear among them. “Parents should keep it simple, especially when explaining to children over the age of five, that there is a virus and, therefore, we should all be careful. Because the more information that you give, the more anxiety will likely be caused in that child.”

It is important to set clear expectations about what they will experience when returning to school. When children know what to expect, it can go a long way toward soothing any worries they may have about leaving home and going to school. It is also recommended to have open communication about this new phase and to let the children know that these changes are not going to be for life, but are temporary.

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“Parents right now need to be very aware of their children’s behavior through listening and communicating. Listen to what they have to say and talk their feelings out. Ask them: How do you feel with these changes? What are your thoughts? Do it daily and expand from there,” Dr. Rina recommended.

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