DUBAI: After months of homeschooling and summer holidays, the shift back to school in some countries - the UAE for one - can be one of emotional turmoil for kids and parents alike. Reem Shaheen, clinical director at BE Psychology Center in Dubai, shares her tips for a smooth transition back to school amid ever-present fears about COVID-19.
Contact the school and other parents to make sure you have as much information about changes and any new protocols that have been put in place so you can explain it clearly to your child, to avoid any surprises or shock when they return to the classroom.
To ease any anxiety, call an informal family meeting to talk through a typical day at school and allow your children an opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions.
Review child safety and health procedures in place at school and gently discuss with your child, a simple quiz can be a good way to ensure it’s all understood. It is especially important your child understands the importance of good hand-washing practices and, above all, never to share a masks with friends.
Prepare for change
Remember the first few weeks are always an adjustment. There might be changes that will need to be made at home and at school as we learn this new way of schooling, so speak to the kids about this possibility. Also be prepared for the possibility that children may have to return home suddenly if a positive COVID-19 case is detected at their school — keep an open line of communication with your child through any period of upheaval.
End summer holiday habits such as extended screen time and later bed times. Explain the new schedule to your child but reassure them that there will still be space to enjoy downtime.
Do not over schedule your child. It may take time to adjust to full-time schooling so keep after-school sports and activities, and any extra tuition, to a minimum to start.