By Marina Stasinou, Psychologist.
A different period has dawned. This year’s return to school is like no other. Nevertheless, panic in no way contributes to the treatment of coronavirus. If we look at it evolutionarily, man has proved his adaptability and flexibility. He’ll do the same now.
We all know the rules that children must follow in the new school year: mask, distances, antiseptic, canteen… the question is, how do we ensure that the child does follow these rules.
The main tool to carry out the above mission is to understand that children see themselves through the eyes of their parents. If this mirroring is exploited, the results are spectacular. So to help the child become familiar with the new reality, set a good example.
You must not forget that your child is a little man, who feels as we all do. So it’s very important to have a conversation with him. Depending on the age, mental and verbal development of each child, we have to inform, but also to elicit things, which may not be able to express.
Concrete, stable & without inaccuracies, we explain in simple words what is going on. Assure your child, that in any case you will be close to him and will cope with everything together. In this way, you create a climate of security, which is invaluable at this stage.
As mentioned above, children behave according to parental standards. For our child to assimilate the new rules, it is beneficial to apply them at home. For example:
- Make sure there are masks & antiseptics at home. So, the child gets acquainted with the new “accessories” and begins to understand when to use them.
- Use your own glass and avoid use one another’s utensil.
- Before eating, wash your hands together.
- If possible, take your child along in different places, where it is required to use the mask.
Let us not forget that one of the most important learning processes for children is the game and that is why we should not neglect it. The game is necessary for its social development.
Gather together and decide what to play. Will you go to the grocery store? To the supermarket? Or maybe to school? The goal is to apply, correctly all of the rules. Whoever misses, comes out of the game and plays again in the next round.
It is very important that we have set clear rules, which the child should follow, but also that we have provided for possible losses. So make sure you have enough of the essentials. It would be advisable to have one or more spare masks in the child’s bag. Also, a second canteen would be useful in case the first one is lost or spoiled. With the above, we ensure that if something happens, our child will have the possibility of alternatives, so there won’t be any stress.
An excellent way to teach our child responsibility and push it to follow the rules is to assign initiatives. Let it help to prepare the necessary, depending, of course, on its age and capabilities. When you prepare their bag, suggest them putting in the essentials. Gradually, encourage it to make the bag itself. Little by little, you will notice that the child is more conscious about the rules that he must follow.
1. There will be tense moments, but consider that children are also worried. Especially, children who have experienced losses, serious illnesses or other difficult situations are extremely vulnerable.
2. Children should not be exposed uncontrollably to what is said. It is important that we inform them after we have filtered the events and explaining to them what we think they can hear.
3. If we detect unusual symptoms, which do not subside, it would be advisable we should go to a mental health specialist. Such symptoms are: retrograde behaviors, such as nocturnal enuresis, sudden anxiety, without apparent cause, that can be manifested by crying, irritation, onychophagia or persistent complaints of headache & sore stomach, sleep disorders, changes in eating habits
P.s. The goal is to form new habits. It is a process that takes time & effort, but it is worth it!