With the current conversation surrounding the new school year and methods that schools will implement to open, it is essential to keep children informed and prepared to enter this new school year.
Establish COVID-19 Open Communication
Entering a new school year can already be a highly emotional period for children and teens. With the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic, this school year is going to look different than years past, and it is essential to prioritize these conversations with children.
Research shows that open communication can reduce social anxieties and stress in children. Studies have also demonstrated the effectiveness of communication during particularly distressing times and social events.
Now is the time to continue these complex conversations and tailor them around your child’s school experience. Explore their concerns and make room for how they can channel their energy at home. Once the school year begins, open communication regarding their days in class and how they are going about their social activities can be a meaningful conversation to engage in with them.
Reinforce Hygienic Practices
Encouraging safe hygiene practices is a great way to keep young students feeling engaged and empowered over their health and wellbeing.
At this point, we are all experts in washing our hands and social distancing to some extent. However, our comfort levels with these practices can shift regarding different social situations (dining, flying, etc.) The same applies to children.
Asking your child about their ideas of safe hygiene practices can open the lines of communication. Reinforcing hygienic practices with children and teens can help reduce some of the underlying anxieties that may be felt, including attending class and safely resuming social activities.
This conversation can also look different from child-to-child. For children with underlying health conditions, it is important to tailor the communication to their needs and follow the CDC’s recommendations on hygienic practices, social distancing measures, and more.
Remember: Comfort and preparation is the goal, not panic, obsession, and fear.
Keep a Balanced Home Life
Given that things are going to look a bit different at the beginning of this school year, it is vital to maintain a healthy and balanced home life. Some ways to keep a healthy home life include a healthy diet, ample time playing outdoors, and new ways in which children can maintain a social life under the current conditions.
There may be pressure to “catch up” with lost time and curriculum. However, it is vital to find a balance between academic life and physical activity, mindfulness practices, and diet/nutrition.
Don’t forget to keep your children up-to-date on their annual medical visits, vaccinations, and medications. Always maintain a good check on your child’s health and symptoms if something out of the ordinary arises.
One more aspect, not to overlook is mental health and behavioral/emotional support. If your child is not responding well to these changes, it can be very beneficial to introduce a mental health professional to the conversation to establish trust and provide additional communication techniques that will serve beyond this current Pandemic.
“These are unique times…but acting out of fear will not achieve any of your desired goals. Set your goals, figure out what the obstacles are that may prevent you from reaching your goals, and figure out how to overcome the obstacles. Whether it is more accurate medical information, increased physical exercise, or finding a way to reach your calm (mindfulness, hypnosis, counseling, etc.), follow the Nike ad…”Just Do It!”
Feel free to share this with the people in your life who may benefit from this information! For more insights on neurology, check out our weekly tips on our Neurology Office Facebook page.
“To Cure Sometimes, To Heal Often, To Comfort Always”
If you have any questions about Covid-19 or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact the Neurology Office for more help.
Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel M.D. and Associates
“Concierge medicine without the concierge price”