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Covid and Back to School – or Not?

Covid and Going Back to Preschool or Not

It’s August and kids are going back to school soon. This is creating a lot of anxiety for many parents who are grappling with whether or not to send their little ones back to preschool.

Let me start me start by saying there’s no right or wrong answer to this decision. For many families it’s a tough one!

Every family is in a completely unique situation. Not every parent (working and stay-at -home) can be home with their kids and have it be a beneficial and pleasant experience for everyone.

Trust your gut and do what feels right for your family.

Make the decision that is best for your family.  Don’t to second guess yourself.  Don’t listen to negative judgement for your decision.

If you are choosing to send your toddler or preschooler back to school, preschools will look very different this year and unlike anything your little one is used to.

Going back to school’s going to require schools and families to be a team and work together helping kids adjust as there’ll be many changes to policies and daily operations. These are all intended to keep children safe and healthy, while also supporting on-going learning and valuable social interactions.

Call your preschool and find out exactly what these changes are for your school community. How will the classroom look different? How will the schedule be different? What are the new rules? How will they share these changes with the kids?  What’s the plan to support and comfort children who struggle or feel anxious, sad or scared?

It’s good for you to know ahead of time the exact changes and extra precautions being taken at your school so you can begin talking to your kiddos now about school looking different and the changes they can expect.

From conversations I’ve been having with preschool directors some changes that are happening include: kids will be screened daily; drop-off and pickup times may be staggered and may happen outside and not in the classroom; parents and teachers will be required to wear masks and in some preschools teachers are wearing face shields too; hand-washing will be more frequent throughout the day; class sizes will be smaller (10 kids) and within each class children may be split into smaller groups to provide for social distancing as best as possible. This means some friends your child is familiar with at school may not be there, may be in a different group or even a different class. Toys too are being evaluated and there will be less options available.

Some of our little guys have also been out of school for several months. Covid aside, they may need extra help adjusting to being back in school and finding their groove after many moths at home.

Developing daily routines before and after school helps give kids a sense of control in their day. Kids thrive when they know what they are expected to do. Routines help create a stable environment where stress is reduced, power struggles eliminated, and kids re-adjusting to being in school, or feeling anxious about the new experience of school, feel more safe and secure starting their day.

Be consistent with your routines. Consistency brings comfort, also reduces anxiety and increasing adaptability.

Talk to your child about how they’re feeling about returning to school. What are they excited about and what they may be nervous about.

When school starts, talk about how school’s going and how they’re feeling. Be mindful to keep it an open and brief conversation, this is not an interrogation. When we feel the need to know every detail that’s more about our anxiety, not our child’s.

If your preschooler is not good at communicating his feelings, look for behavior changes in your child. Look for changes like more crying, more irritable, excessive worry, feeling sad, or changes in eating or sleeping habits. These may be signs your child is struggling.  Behavior changes will warrant a conversation with their teacher to see how they’re coping at school and how home and school can work together to support your child through this big transition back to preschool.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed or confused about starting your child back in preschool or managing the adjustment back to school, and you want a safe place to talk about your worries without feeling judged, criticized, shamed, or uneasy I can help.

Feel free to reach out to reach out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at 949-233-0609.

Heart of Connecting

My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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