Parenting in the Time of COVID-19: Talking to Your Kids About the New School Year | Rice Psychology
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Parenting in the Time of COVID-19: Talking to Your Kids About the New School Year

Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.

Last week, we learned that our child will be attending school in August. I processed the information and heard the new guidelines his school would be implementing, but I’m extremely worried and nervous for him. Are they going to be able to keep him safe? Will my third-grader wear his mask all day and stay six feet away from his friends? As I’ve grown quite negative about the situation, I’ve also grown nervous that he’s picked up on my bad attitude. He used to be so excited about going back and wearing his mask, but now he’s asking to stay home with me. I should have approached this better.

No matter if you’re a parent, guardian, teacher, or student, we were all hoping the fall would return us to some type of normalcy. And, for some, it might. Sort of. We know that lots of parents have been glued to the TV and/or social media outlets watching to see if their child would head back to in-person schooling. Whether your child is going back to school or will be virtually learning, the new school year will be very different for everyone, and that can leave parents and children feeling extremely uncertain and overwhelmed.

By now, you’ve likely had many talks with your family about the dos and don’ts of COVID-19. But how the pandemic will affect your kids’ upcoming activities is an entirely different beast. It can be tough to know where to begin. How can you discuss the upcoming school year with your family without knowing how any of it will actually play out? Our licensed psychologists and therapists in Tampa are here to help!

Set the Tone

We understand that it’s hard to explain something that you don’t fully understand yet to a child. And being positive about a situation with so many negatives can make it next to impossible to bear. The reality is that your attitude about whatever lies ahead is likely to be adopted by your child.

It’s important to remember that your child is constantly looking to you for guidance, so how you react to stressful situations will be the same for him/her/them. Regardless of what your child’s education method will look like, we know that you’ll probably be feeling anxious, scared, and even a little angry. It’s perfectly fine to feel this way, but before starting a conversation with your children, try the following:

  • Give yourself time to process your emotions.
  • Try finding the positives in the situation and embrace your “new normal.”
  • Think carefully about the best way to approach the situation and what your next steps will be.

Once this has been done, you can create a better environment to talk with your kids. And, of course, if you’re having trouble doing this, we’re here to help you.

Make it a Teachable Moment

According to a paper published by the National Association of School Psychologists (which you can read by clicking here), times like the present, while seeming grim, can be an incredible opportunity to teach your kids helpful life skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Processing new information
  • Compassion

But how can you even begin? The following tips from the NASP can be extremely helpful:

  • Stay calm, listen, and offer reassurance.
  • Focus on the positives.
  • Monitor your children’s television and social media usage.
  • Let your children’s questions guide you.
  • Be honest and accurate.
  • Keep your explanations age-appropriate.
  • Stay connected with their school.
  • Be aware of your children’s mental health.

It Takes a Village

We know that what’s happening in the world right now is hard to navigate as parents, and our team in Tampa does not want you to do it alone if you’re having trouble doing so. We offer online sessions where we listen to your concerns and help you to create positive solutions. Schedule your online session with us today!

One Last Thing

Don’t miss our upcoming Parent Clubhouse! Join us on Thursday, August 6th at 7:00 PM for a safe space to discuss your thoughts on the upcoming school year and COVID-19. This meeting is free and only open to parents of kids ages five through 18. We only have a few spots available, so please don’t miss your chance to speak with us. Email Dr. Wendy Rice to reserve your spot now!

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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