We all have our individual stories of how our children (and parents) reacted in March once it was clear that that the remainder of the spring semester was going virtual. Most of us managed, but for many, the road was rocky and in some cases, things just went off a cliff. Everything occurred from highly structured home learning to complete forfeit of any academics.
How can parents manage this fall semester to ensure that their children have the best chance of success?
1-First of all, do your best to relax! From what I am seeing (most of) your children are ready to get back to school regardless of how classes will be presented. Many parents of college-age students have offered a gap year rather than returning, but the students I have spoken with want to get back to campus and give it a try. That’s not saying that they don’t have their concerns-they do, but they want to proceed with their lives. Let them know how proud you are of them to want to continue their education and return to their normalcy. Yes, they may want to get out of mom and dad’s house, but they understand the risks and they are making a conscious decision to return to campus.
If your student voices concerns or anxiety, explore all available options.
2-Have the necessary HIPPA forms and legal documents (medical power of attorney) prepared and distributed as soon as possible.
3-Make sure both you and your child are aware of the school’s COVID plans.
4-If your child is going to college, pack lightly! Schools may require a quick exit in the event of an emergency. Having an abundance of items will complicate an efficient move-out process.
3–Prepare! If you haven’t, start collecting masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to send with them or to have in your home. Help them to understand the risks and what they need to do to stay safe.
4-Recognize that they do have concerns and anxiety about what awaits them. Offer your support and validate their concerns. Avoid minimizing or awful-izing.
5-Seek professional coaching for guidance and support if needed.
Best of luck to you and your family!