By St Dunstan’s College’s Deputy Head Pastoral, Jade McLellan
With rising cases of Covid-19 and the news of the Omicron variant, it can be a worrying time for young people again. Here, St Dunstan’s College’s Deputy Head Pastoral, Jade McLellan, gives her five tips to help with speaking to children who may be worried about the current situation.
Be clear on the knowns and unknowns
Children will naturally be worried as they see news bulletins catastrophising the current situation and talking about Christmas being ruined. Reassure children about what we do know, based on our previous experiences with COVID and that, no matter what governmental decisions are made, we are in a far better place to respond to the pandemic than we were a year ago.
Enjoy the build up to the festive season
We will all be looking forward to spending some quality time with our families over the Christmas break. If you no longer feel comfortable attending big public events, there are plenty of things you can do instead. Try doing some Christmas baking, going for a wintry walk or enjoying hot chocolates at an outdoor market.
But stay focused on school work
Even in the independent sector, learning has of course been impacted by repeated bursts of remote teaching and learning, both during formal lockdowns and periods of individual self-isolation. It is more important than ever to ensure your child is on top of their academic work and asking for help in person from their teachers whenever it is needed.
Empathise with their frustration
We all know it is uncomfortable to wear a face mask for long periods of time and to feel that you are returning to a way of life you hoped you had left behind. Praise children for adhering to the rules but empathise with their grumbles as you sit next to one another on the train!
Remind them of the positives
Despite the many negatives and the personal toll inflicted on families, there have also been some positives. Families may be more connected through digital technologies, have spent additional time learning new interests together, some parents may no longer be facing long commutes which eat into family time in the evenings.
Whenever human beings come up against challenges, to a point, we have the opportunity to practise resilience which is a vital skill for young people to learn. It is normal to feel dismayed at this latest setback but reassure children that we have made it through setbacks at previous points in the pandemic and will do so again.
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