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Returning to learning: Help kids find a healthy mindset for school

This school year will be different for many kids, even as society moves toward a sense of normalcy

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This school year will be different for many kids, even as society moves toward a sense of normalcy.

10TV talked with one father about his concerns as his 11-year-old prepares to head back to school.

“This is the time they should be getting together, doing some socializing together, learning and being around people and it just really... I think it hit hard this year,” said Homer, whose daughter Olivya is hoping to see more normalcy this year at school.

Homer’s concern about socialization for kids like Olivya is one other parents share.

Dr. Parker Huston, pediatric psychologist and clinical director of “On our Sleeves,” told 10TV that parents should consider helping kids socialize before they head back into the classroom.

“For many kids, they’re going to socialize this coming school year in ways that they might not be used to over the past 18 months at that point and so helping them reconnect with friend groups and helping them sort of figure out how socialization is going to go this school year, I think is really important,” Dr. Huston said.

Another point Dr. Huston made is that routine is key.

“There was so much inconsistency over the past year that just having a summer of some consistency in whatever way you can provide it is probably going to be really comforting to kids and help them get prepared for, what we hope will be, even if it’s not totally typical, a more consistent school year this coming year,” he said.

Parents can also work on what Dr. Huston calls “flexible thinking,” he said.

“We would love to all know exactly how this school year is going to play out but the reality is that most of us haven’t heard yet about changes and rules and regulations and structures in schools, so teaching them to be balanced and flexible in thinking about, ‘I hope it’s this way but if it’s this way I can do it as well,” Dr. Huston said.

Finally, Dr. Huston suggests parents have conversations with their kids, in which they are honest about their own feelings.

“It’s really important that they understand that you’re going through it with them and you can help them and you can model a good way of discussing it and being open about how it makes you feel and also what you’re doing to help get yourself through it,” Dr. Huston said.

To read more about helping children find the right headset before the new school year, click here