how to talk to kids about COVID

Children and re-entry anxiety

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With schools reopening nationwide, classroom learning is going to feel a lot different.

Social distancing measures have been in place for a while, but a lot of children are still getting used to things. If your little ones find school in a COVID-world hard to deal with, there are some ways you can help with their re-entry anxiety. 

Step 1: Curb your own worries 

If you’re feeling uneasy about the back to school season, your children are going to feel the same. Children can pick up on adult anxiety enough to take it on themselves.

Recognise what you can and can’t control. You can take simple steps like following government guidelines and updates in your local area – but you cannot control the virus itself. This way of thinking can help you feel more secure in your given situation.

We also recommend you slow your news intake. Get the key facts from trusted sources. Stay alert. But don’t overload your brain with negative information – it can take a toll on your mental health.

As always, speak to someone like friends or family if you’re worried or struggling in any way. Our GPs are also here to help.

Step 2: Be open about what’s going on 

Your children can feel left in the dark with their worries. For their return to the classroom, they might feel upset they can’t hug their friends or sit beside their favourite classmate.

  • Encourage your children to talk about how they are feeling. It might be easier for them to write down their thoughts.
  • Reassure your children that it is entirely normal to feel mixed emotions and that their friends will be feeling very similar.
  • Let them know that their school will be taking precautions to keep them safe.

Step 3: Wash those hands 

Make hand washing a habit. By doing it at home, children will feel more at ease replicating this behaviour in the classroom. Use songs like happy birthday to complete the 20-second hand-washing rule with warm water and soap.

Step 4: Keep a routine

Routines tend to go out of the window for children during the summer holidays. And with lockdown, it might be harder to get back into the swing of things. A good idea would be to ease into it. Start going to bed at a set time on weekends, reducing late-night screen time. Small changes can make the post-lockdown school days a lot easier.

Step 5: Enjoy healthy, immune-boosting diets 

Covid-19 isn’t the only concern for children in the classroom. Classrooms are always a breeding ground for pesky colds, bugs, and flu. You can help protect your family with healthy, immune-boosting foods. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, pulses, eggs, and fish are just a few to keep in mind when choosing your child’s lunch for the day.

Be kind to yourself. 

Things aren’t going to feel normal for a long time. So, don’t stress too much if school life is a bit manic at the start. Eventually, children will ease into the routine and accept what people are calling the ‘new normal’.

If you need advice or have any health concerns, our GPs can help. You can book an appointment for you or your eligible family members whenever you need to.

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