Mask and vaccine debate aside, we’re opening up. By fall, school will likely look a little more normal, but caution is still the rule. Need help getting ready?
If there’s one thing to keep in mind during the unknown, it’s this: Go easy on yourself! Forget being perfect. Build positive relationships, says local school psychologist Chris Moore — a “coach” on surviving the pandemic for staff and parents in Salem Keizer Public Schools.
“I encourage parents and students to focus first on relationship building and self-compassion, because growth and learning starts with social, emotional strength.”
The pandemic has forced us back to basics. “For example, if you’re struggling as a parent, it’s okay for your kids to see that,” he said. “But let them see how you navigate it in appropriate ways. They’re getting life lessons on managing a crisis! That means they’re getting tools to be resilient.”
So, what’s an appropriate way to navigate this tricky transition?
If you’re having a hard time, narrate your experience in ways they understand, so they see you solve problems, Moore said, noting he actually did this the other day with his kids. “I was frustrated that I didn’t have coffee creamer, so I said this –‘I forgot to buy more coffee creamer, I was really looking forward to that this morning but I’m grateful I still have coffee.’ I could have over-reacted, but took a deep breath and focused on gratitude instead.”
At the breaking point
When you feel like you want to scream, “Breathe! Then breathe some more,” Moore said. Give yourself time to calm your brain; go from raw emotions to reasoning. Below are a few practices he suggests to boost resilience and capacity to cope with stress:
More practical suggestions on talking to kids, based on ages:
Chris also recommends these resources: