school: 4 Articles

Coming Out of COVID-19: Preparing to Return to In-Person School and Activities

"Getting back to normal" is something most of us have been looking forward to. It sounds great in the abstract, but actually returning to in-person activities after experiencing a year of  COVID-19 social distancing could be stressful. Dr. Julia Martin Burch shares insights and tips to ease your child's transition back to in-person activities. As vaccines roll out across the world, children are preparing for the return to in-person activities, including school, extra-curriculars, large family gatherings, and play dates, among many others. For many kids, this will be a welcome change as a return in-person activities means fun playing with friends, easier learning, and well-known routines and traditions. Yet the return to in-person activities- particularly mandatory school- also brings a host of worries and uncertainties for children and parents alike. In particular, many introverted or anxious kids have come to feel more comfortable staying home during the pandemic and have had few opportunities to practice getting out of their comfort zone. It is crucial to help all kids prepare for the return to in-person activities but is particularly important for kids whose shy or anxious temperament may make this a particularly big shift. Luckily, parents and caretakers can do much to help prepare kids for the upcoming changes. Re-establish routines Children thrive with predictable routines and feel empowered when they know what to expect. Several weeks before your child’s activity starts again in person, get them ready. For example, to help your child prepare for a return to in-person school, start to slowly shift your child’s morning schedule. This can include gradually waking up earlier to allow for time to get dressed in a school-friendly outfit, eat breakfast, and have time to get to school.  Consider introducing some grounding, calming rituals into the day to help your child (and yourself!) stay emotionally strong and resilient during the upcoming period of transition. For example, you and your child can make a habit of taking 5 deep breaths before sitting down to breakfast, enjoying a quick stretch before commuting to school, or discussing your “high lights” and “low lights” of the day at dinner each evening. Calming rituals do not have to take much time or effort, but offer a predictable opportunity for kids to slow down and ground themselves in a familiar, comforting routine each day.  It's also helpful to review your community’s safety policies with your child well in advance and practice the steps they may be less familiar with. For example, you can make a game at home of estimating how many feet of distance are between you and your child. It is also helpful to practice wearing masks for longer and longer periods so they are used to it before returning to activities where they will need to be masked full time.  Talk about it Well intended parents often avoid bringing up topics that they worry will make their child anxious. However, an open conversation gives kids a chance to air their concerns and get answers to

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Coming Out of COVID-19: Preparing to Return to In-Person School and Activities 2021-05-18T11:51:08-04:00

Sophie’s Shell

Why is the sky blue? Why are raindrops wet? What are stars made of? Why am I so shy? Sophie can't wait til she's old enough to go to school. She has so many questions she wants to learn the answers to. But when it's finally time, Sophie feels so shy, she keeps popping back in her shell. What can help Sophie build the confidence she needs to come out of her shell and explore the world? Hear author, Jo Rooks, read Sophie's Shell aloud. Sophie's Shell is part of The Once Upon a Garden Series. Read a piece Jo Rooks wrote about supporting your shy child.

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Sophie’s Shell 2020-08-18T13:01:17-04:00

Talking to Teachers About Your Anxious Teen

High school is a time of fun, excitement, growth, and change. For many teens, however, high school is also a time of tremendous stress. High schoolers must grapple with increased academic expectations, social pressures, executive function demands, romantic relationships, and decisions about their futures–all with a brain that is still developing and a body full of hormones! For teens prone to anxiety, high school can feel like a pressure cooker.

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Talking to Teachers About Your Anxious Teen 2018-06-14T13:52:28-04:00