• Leah Soldner

10 Ways To Transition Your Child Back to School Like a Boss


What's that? Schools are opening again? This is too good to be true!

It sure seems that way, with the welcoming idea of your child finally returning to a structured study environment catered to their age, likes and dislikes.


Hurray! Right?


As exciting as the news may be for both you and your child, it’s still a colossal change. For the better part of 2020 children have been socially distanced at an age where interpersonal interaction is crucial for character development.

Children, and specifically toddlers, may have been fine socializing before the pandemic but are too young to remember or associate what life was like prior to Covid 19. For some, masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing is all they have known.


A child's ability to identify with feeling and emotions is strongly based around their ability to see and understand facial expressions. When a child can and has only been accustomed to interacting with others through a lense, they associate this with alternate reality. A cartoon. A movie. It's not "real life" for them.





So what's the solution?

Don't Expect A Pre-Pandemic Reaction


A child's memories start forming around the age of 2 to 2.5 years old, meaning a preschooler around the age of 3-4 doesn't have many (or any) memories of what life was like prior to the pandemic.

Don't rush your child back into socialization. If your child is refusing to enter somewhere, throwing a tantrum because you asked them to say hello to someone, or experiencing high anxiety over day to day activities, take it a step at a time.


2. Work With What You Have

So your child can't and doesn't see much of someones face hidden behind a mask aside from the eyes. There's a reason they say "Eyes are the window to the soul". Many, many expressions can be taught via eye contact. Work gently with your child on making eye contact while speaking. You can even make it a game and play "Guess What I'm Feeling" by using your eyes to expressively show happy, sad, worried or mad, then have them guess what expression you have on.


3. Prepare Your Child

Use picture cards with expressions and practice reviewing them daily, connecting them to simple day-to-day activities in your child's life. Getting ready to go back to school? Start now, if you haven't already, explaining and roll-playing going back to school and the security precautions that will entail. Remember: If you've felt at any point in time fear, panic or anxiety during the pandemic, these feelings are amplified in your child's mind.


4. FORL

Fear Of Real Life: The pandemic has created panic around the world, and your child has consciously and subconsciously felt the brunt of these feelings. If you're attending a social event in advance, walk your child through the process of what it's going to be like. Again, and again. And oh, again. Try taking them to the location where they will be socializing, even if it means driving past, and associating it with something happening soon.


Of course when last minute plans arise, parents don't have the luxury of preparing their child in advance, so work with the situation as best you can. Focus on as many positive aspects of the situation that your child can understand.


5. Separation Anxiety:

Has always been a struggle for toddlers and is now a huge fear factor. Start as soon as possible helping your child adjust to separating from family members starting in small increments, and gradually building up the distance over time. Something as simple as a short nature walk with a trusted adult can be incredibly helpful.


6. Hold My Hand

A child needs physical contact in the form of much more than an elbow bump or "air five". Make a point of maintaining physical contact with your child in ways that make them feel safe, secure and loved. Hold their hand. Hug them. Tickle them. In whatever possible, keep your child physically connected to you, but not...


7. Codependent

Studies have shown that children have become increasingly more codependent during the pandemic. Siblings only want to play with each other. One child will ONLY stay with mum or dad during study time. If this is the case, help your child learn to detach some of their over amplified feelings of codependency by helping them bond with their teacher, a trusted adult or other family member.


8. Talk With Your Child

They may be too young to understand everything you're saying, but they will understand the emotion behind it. Since fear and fustration have played such a huge part in different households, make a point of NOT talking about anything related to the Pandemic during family moments spent together. Show them pictures from a few years ago, reminisce on happy experiences that your child can associate with, talk about everything and nothing.


9. Reach Out For Help

It take a village to raise a child, so don't be afraid to rely on one. Ask for help if you feel like your relationship with your toddler is out of your depth. Talk with your child's teacher, another parent, a friend, or someone who can help ease your worries and provide valuable advice.


10. It's Gonna Be Ok


Yes, it really will. As I sit here listening to the wail of an ambulance and waiting, like many, for news of when school will start again, I take heart in the knowledge that one of the most amazing skills a child possesses is resiliency. Children are incredibly resilient and capable of recovering from unimaginably tragic events.


So when taken into context, take heart and remember that even though your child may have missed out on a lot of what they should have during the pandemic, they're going to be ok.

And so will you.

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