After a school break of months wrapped in the circumstances of isolation that the coronavirus has brought us, returning to the classroom can be more difficult for children and young people than in other times. To the usual readaptation to the routines of schedules and school obligations, the integration of the preventive norms, the fears of the parents and the children to the contagions and the uncertainty of how the school life will be considered upon returning to school are added.
From home, it can facilitate the adaptation of children to their school activities with “the anticipation of routines and school hours. It is convenient to set the alarm clock when you get up to go to class 15 days before starting school so that they adjust to that rhythm and involve them in the purchase of school supplies. These are generic recommendations, beyond quarantine, as in the case that they do the school tasks they are commissioned to do online so that the content review prevents them from sitting up in the classroom more uphill to study and learn ”, explains Abel Domínguez, health psychologist and director of Domínguez Psicólogos.
Each child has his personal circumstance and in the event that there have been deaths in the family due to covid-19, “things can be complicated by going back to school, especially if we take into account the traumatic situation of not being able to say goodbye to loved ones due to the preventive safety rules imposed by the quarantine. In these cases, I recommend the follow-up of a specialist to check that the grief is not complicated and from home, to watch if the child has insomnia or aggressive and violent behaviors, which are his way of expressing sadness or anxiety ”recommends Domínguez.
“Mom, I’m bored. I want to go outside.” Parents have heard this type of phrase from their children during the confinement, but now that the measures have been relaxed and it is time to resume life outside the home and return to schools within a few months, there are children who are afraid to do so. , due to that invisible monster that kills people called coronavirus that everyone talks about. However, it is a situation that “is not usual. In general, the children, although they have tolerated confinement very well, also wanted to go out, although they have not been able to do many of the things that they would have liked. However, there are many different children and in different circumstances, so there will be those who are afraid to go outside, but it is not usual, “explains Pedro Gorrotxategi, vice president of the Spanish Association of Primary Care (AEPap).
Dismantle the barriers after confinement
During domestic confinement to prevent covid-19, “we have put together a protective layer of measures against the virus, which emotionally has been accompanied by a feeling of fear, more or less intense. As always, what we experience as adults is experienced by our children. Over many weeks, we have had to adapt to a confinement situation, and in general, we have managed to readjust our routines and modify our mental state to be able to live this experience. Now, new changes are coming and this is also accompanied by a new type of stress to adapt to a dual reality that is difficult for children to understand, because although there is no longer so much danger, we still have to continue protecting ourselves, “explains Tristana Suárez, a psychologist and Gestalt therapist.
The child’s age determines how he manages the confinement, the return to the classrooms and the reunion with the outside world. “The little ones will have more difficulty in containing their impulses and will want to touch, get closer to others, play and run, but they will also have less awareness of the danger of contagion from the virus and therefore less fear. From the age of five, they can feel and know reality much better and may be more anxious and scared by the current situation. The stage we have just experienced has had regressive effects on all of us, also on children. We have once again experienced emotional and mental states that refer us to previous stages of life, such as dependency, vulnerability, emptiness or attachment ”, adds Suárez.
Suarez suggests several guidelines so that the return of children to the new normality is free of fear and for parents to transmit security to their children:
Speak clearly and calmly to the children about the new situation. Children capture information beyond words. For this reason, it is convenient to transmit serenity and confidence with our tone of voice and attitude when going out and going back to school.Review and memorize with the children before leaving home to go to school, the protection rules and only insist on them if necessary to avoid causing boredom and tension in the child. For this, the rules can be simplified in three basic concepts, such as hand washing, distance between people and the use of a mask.Answer the questions of children in a clear and simple way.Have patience and understanding in the face of the child’s fear of going back to school. It takes time to normalize the new situation and dismantle the defenses built to prevent infection.Use the game with younger children, such as those under the age of five, to get involved in health protection and prevention regulations.Remind children that prevention measures are temporary and that the return to normality depends on the commitment of all.Avoid scolding and bad mood if the child breaks a rule. Remind you of the prevention guidelines that you have had to get used to in a short time and without notice.Make children aware that we are all in solidarity In this new situation, we are united to protect ourselves and we function as a team.
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