Back-to-school tips for families during COVID-19
August 27, 2020
Families in Sanders County were faced with a tough decision this week - whether to send their children back to school in person or keep them home. No doubt, what is good for one family may not be for another, which makes the decision even more challenging…we all want to do the right thing and look to others for guidance.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) has recently released “Tips for Families: Helping Children and Adolescents Transition Back to School,” a supportive guide for sending kids back to school. “Families play an important role in helping children and adolescents understand how COVID-19 is transmitted and the precautions they can take to reduce the spread of the virus,” AOTA stated.
Some suggestions for battling the pandemic include open, truthful discussion about COVID-19 that is age appropriate. Some children are anxious about returning to school. “Help children and adolescents feel a sense of control by exploring habits they can use to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like wearing a mask and washing hands regularly,” explained AOTA.
Those that have difficulties wearing masks could “practice” by wearing masks at various times throughout the day to gain comfort, even when one is not required. “Teach children to treat masks and other facial coverings with the same care they would use for prescription eyeglasses (do not play with masks or remove at inappropriate times),” suggests AOTA. They also recommend sending extra masks to school in case one is damaged or lost as well as hand sanitizer.
Becoming familiar and remaining updated with school policies on how they are handling COVID-19 is as important as personally communicating with the school, according to AOTA. In the event that school is closed, having an already dedicated space and a plan for virtual learning in place is important. AOTA suggests developing a daily schedule of what the virtual school day would entail, making room for each class and including breaks to incorporate physical activity. “Use timers to help with focus and stay on-task” they recommend, “prioritizing key assignments that need to be completed” should help with feeling overwhelmed.
For more suggestions on sending kids back to school with the current COVID-19 crisis visit http://www.aota.org/Practice/Health-Wellness/COVID19/back-to-school.aspx. The site includes tips for families as well as school personnel and resources on how to talk to children about the pandemic and healthy habits and routines.