This year, back to school is anything but back to normal. As kids head back into the classroom full time after a year of remote or hybrid learning, the many changes and challenges of this transition can be all-encompassing and anxiety-inducing—for kids, parents, and educators alike.
The pandemic brought unprecedented change to kids both academically and socially. Family routines and schedules were upended, and school structure went out the window and into the computer screen. And now, we’re asking them to adapt right back. To a more structured and supervised environment. To being around a large group of their peers again, with the wide spectrum of emotions and dynamics that brings. To an increased pressure to do well academically and get good grades, after a year in which no one knew where to set expectations, so some didn’t set any at all.
One important thing to remember is that while 2021 isn’t 2020, it’s also not 2019. This school year will still feel different from any pre-COVID year, and it’s up to everyone—students, parents, teachers, staff—to foster a community of open communication and understanding. One not without consequences, but one with realistic, more individualized goals and expectations that will set kids up for success and keep them on the right path. One where it’s okay for everyone to talk about their stressors.
Using some of the tools that the experts at Rosecrance use in their teen residential treatment programs could also be useful in re-imagining education in the post-pandemic classroom. For example, integrating daily mindfulness and self-care, like 10-15 minutes of meditation or yoga, which can both bring the group together and give each student a new de-stressing tool in their arsenal.
If a child or teen you know is experiencing any mental health or substance use issues due to the in-person return to school, check out series two of the Rosecrance podcast “On Your Radar,” which covers going back to school in the new “normal.” Episode one, “Back in Class,” covers the social and academic issues facing kids as they re-adjust and ways for the adults in their lives to help address those issues.
Download “On Your Radar: Back In Class” series 2 episode 1, HERE.