COVID-19 has brought lots of changes to schools this year.
Have you done a RAT – Rapid Antigen Test – with your kids yet?
Or had to explain why their teacher is wearing a facemask?
Senior School Psychologist Janet Coad says most students are coping well with the changes.
“In 2020 there was more anxiety in the school community about COVID. Some families chose to keep their families at home even before we were locked down,” she explains.
“But this year, families are happy to send their kids to school and children are happy to come.”
“Handwashing, sanitising and social distancing have all become normal.”
Most students will take this year’s changes in their stride. But some students may feel unsettled or uncertain.
According to Janet, the best thing parents can do is be ready to listen.
Don’t ask 20 questions.
Find out what your child knows about COVID-19 and follow their lead when it comes to asking questions.
What to look out for
“It’s our role as parents to monitor our children and look out for anything out of the ordinary for them,“ explains Janet.
Is your child using social media even more than usual?
Are they anxious, clingy or not eating and sleeping normally?
If you notice changes, it’s a good idea to check in.
“Just opening with a simple statement – I noticed when we were talking the other day about the new arrangements at school for Covid, that you looked really worried.”
“Give them space to make a comment or ask a question,” says Janet.
We don’t have all the answers and that’s okay
Your kids may have questions about Covid-19 that you don’t have the answer to.
“Why did Covid happen?”
“When will Covid end?”
The reality is that even the experts don’t have all the answers.
“It’s important for children to know that sometimes we don’t have all the answers that we want,” says Janet.
As parents, we need to show our kids that sometimes we just have to sit with uncomfortable feelings.
What you can do is look for answers together.
Or take practical steps like going to buy face masks and sanitiser together.
If you are anxious, your child will notice
COVID-19 changes this year have affected us all. It’s normal to for adults to feel overwhelmed or uncertain at times too.
Your children will pick up on your vibes. So wait until you feel calmer before talking to your kids.
There is lots of help available
You and your child can get support at school.
School psychologists, social workers and a range of other professionals can help.
“You can have a conversation with a professional yourself, to get some tips on your situation with your child,” explains Janet.
“Those people can also meet with your child if you decide that’ s what you want and what would be best for them.”
Resources to help
- Talk to your child’s teacher or principal if you want advice or support
- Check out other useful tips about talking to your kids about COVID-19 at Supporting health and wellbeing during COVID-19 and the Wellbeing page.
- Other useful tips can be found at Emerging Minds, Beyond Blue, and Red Cross.
- You can also access phone support by calling Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, Lifeline on 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.