What can parents and caregivers do?
Just as parents and caregivers support children’s and young people’s transition to being at home during COVID-19, they can help prepare children and young people to feel safe and ready to return to school. The MHPSS activities they have practiced at home during school closures can be continued to support a smooth transition.
- Share information with children and young people on when and how school reopening will happen. Use different formats to communicate (i.e. drawings, songs) to ensure the keys messages are understood.
- Remind children and young people of positive reasons to return to school. They will be able to play with their friends, see their teachers, and continue learning new things. Remind them key people at school they can reach out to for support.
- Ask children and young people how they feel about going back to school. Reassure children that all feelings are normal.
- Take the time to comfort your child and respond to their needs. No matter how unrealistic their fears may sound, remember their feelings are real and frightening to your child.
- Help your child understand their emotions. Say things like “you seem really sad today” or “I can see you are frustrated” to help them begin to label their own feelings.
- Reassure children and young people about safety measures in place to keep students and teachers healthy.
- Encourage children and young people to be agents of change. They can also help prevent germs from spreading by washing their hands with soap and coughing and sneezing into their arm.
- Prepare children and young people that schools may need to close again if more people get sick. Reassure them that if schools close again it is so that our communities stay safe and healthy. Continue to remind them that learning can happen anywhere – at school and at home.
- Tell children you will continue to support their learning even after they return to school.