COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — Now is the time to start getting kids back into a routine as we gear up for the upcoming school year.
In the middle of August, many kids across the state will head back to school for what will be a mostly normal school year after COVID-19 impacted learning last year. Some students may have anxiety about what this year will look like, while other students are excited.
“I think anytime you start a new school year there is anxiety, and I think parents can really do a good job labeling that as just excitement,” Butler Middle School Principal Paula Logan said.
Logan says the best thing to do to help get rid of any anxiety kids may be having about school is to plan a routine, go over their school schedule and meet with the school staff before the first day of class.
“Anything we can set up as a routine, or a plan prior to that, and kind of talk through, then makes the change over in that week where we changed back to that school routine just a little bit easier,” Logan said.
It's important to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, experts say.
"Saying, 'This is great, school is starting, let’s talk about the fun things we’re looking forward to,' not focusing just on what are you scared of, what are you worried about, what are you anxious about, giving the kids hope that things are going to be better,” said child psychologist Dr. Douglas Goldsmith.
This year, many school districts say classes will be back to normal, or what it was like pre-COVID for the most part.
However, some kids will still be wearing masks, and that’s something Goldsmith says parents should talk to their kids about.
“If you see kids that are wearing masks, you’re not to tease them, and you are to respect boundaries and both kids," Goldsmith said. "Whether it’s from a COVID fearful family or a COVID relaxed family, [parents] should really be talking to their children about mutual respect.”
One thing that won’t change is classrooms being sanitized.
“They’ll come into the school, our teachers will put those desks as far as part as typically we can, and will still do the sanitizing with the hands," Logan said. "We’ve got sanitizer in all the classrooms so kids can be using that and keeping their hands sanitized and clean."
If your kids have questions about what the school year is going to look like, Dr. Goldsmith says to just be honest and have an open conversation.