Tips for Transitioning Back to the Classroom

A pediatric psychologist offers tips for parents on how to help their child transition back to in-person learning.

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CLEVELAND – Many students have recently transitioned back to the classroom. And while some welcome the return to normalcy, others may be stressed and anxious about the change.

“Especially for kids who have been in elementary school and are now going to middle school for the first time or middle school going to high school for the first time, it’s a whole new world. All of the sudden they’re expected to know what they’re doing,” said Vanessa Jensen, PsyD, Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

So how can parents help make their child’s transition a little easier?

Dr. Jensen said it’s important to offer reassurance and let them know you’re there for them. And when they do open up to you, don’t badger them with a bunch of questions. Let them choose how much they want to share.

She said parents should also pay attention to any changes in behavior. For example, if their grades suddenly drop or they’re sleeping more than usual. They may also make vague complaints about not feeling well or get anxious on Sunday nights before school.

“My big mantra lately has been to tell parents, you know your own kids far better than I am going to know them, far better than your pediatrician knows them. So rely on your own parental side that says, ‘I know Johnny, Judy, Melanie, whatever’ and when they’re stressed, this is what they do and this is what has worked before,” said Dr. Jensen.

She said it can also be helpful to talk to your child’s teacher. They, too, are readjusting to life back in the classroom and can offer some guidance.

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