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Talking to your kids about going back to school

Whether it’s in person, e-learning, or a combination of both, many schools are getting ready to go back in session. With the start of every new school year comes nervousness, uncertainty, and hopefully excitement for your kids as they start thinking about what the new year may hold. This year, in a time when there are still so many unanswered questions about what going back to school might look like and what things will look and feel like when they get back in the school building, it’s important to talk with your kids about how they’re feeling and offer reassurance in ways that help them feel more secure. Lisa Mitchell, communication expert and founder of Power Body Language explains how to have that conversation:

It’s Ok To Feel Nervous or Uncertain

It’s important to help your child understand that their feelings are valid and that it’s normal and OK to have feelings of uncertainty or nervousness when facing a new school year. By acknowledging how they are feeling and creating space for them to talk about their feelings, you make it feel safe for them to share and trust you to guide them through this experience. You want to avoid minimizing or discounting their feelings or downplaying them as that can shut them down and they may internalize those feelings in an unhealthy way instead of sharing them now or in the future.

Asking an open-ended question is a great way to start the conversation and encourage them to share. Consider asking things like: How are you feeling about going back to school? What are you most excited about? What are you feeling nervous about?

It Might Look Different, But The Goal Is The Same

Every child responds to change in their own unique way. Some kids hardly seem phased whereas other kids might have a difficult time adjusting. There is no right way for a child to experience such big changes as they are facing this year with the return of the school year. It’s important to reassure them that, even though how they go to school may have changed or what their classroom and school environment might look like with mask mandates and social distancing, the goal of their teachers and other school staff is still the same…it’s to help them learn safely and to be successful. Reinforcing the primary goals and highlighting the things that foundationally aren’t changing helps them to more readily recognize things that are familiar and that can help them to relax and feel more certain about their role as a student.

Everyone Is On Your Side

Facing a new school year in uncertain times can make kids feel especially vulnerable. It’s important to verbalize to them that everyone is on their side and there to support them. Teachers care, administrators care, bus drivers care, and their family cares. Knowing that there is a team of people walking beside them helps children feel more confident, better supported, and more likely to look forward to the school year with excitement instead of anxiety, click here or connect on Instagram.

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