RHES Counseling Newsletter
We are here to support your students as they prepare to transition into Stage 3. Whether your child will be attending school in-person or remaining virtual, they may be experiencing some big emotions right now. Please don't hesitate to reach out if there is anything we can do to help--whether that means connecting you with helpful resources, meeting on Zoom with your child, or simply talking through your concerns.
Ari Zlotnick (Ms. Z), School Counselor Karen Ferrer, School Psychologist
Tips for a Smooth Transition to In-Person Learning
Get back on a regular sleep schedule
At least a week before returning to in-person learning, start incrementally pushing up bedtime to help ease the transition.
Have conversations about possible changes
For months we have heard and seen many different accounts about COVID-19, and kids have too. Have open, age-appropriate conversations with your children to help them know they are not alone, that we do not have all the answers, that flexibility is very important in this time of COVID-19, and that their health and safety is a top priority.
Help your child understand that not all their classmates or friends may be at school
Explain that every family is different, and that household members' health and other factors influence decisions about returning to school.
Be proactive about back-to-school anxiety
After spending many months at home, children may feel nervous about going back to school and being apart from family. Start having conversations about going back to school and find out how they feel. Talk about situations that could cause stress such as changes happening at school or in the classroom.
Practice mask etiquette
Before school starts, take some time to teach your children how to wear their masks properly. Practice wearing masks for short periods at home and especially when they are out in public. See the next page for tips on helping your child prepare for mask-wearing.
Prepare for new school procedures, such as temperature checks, masks, and social distancing
For young students, getting their temperature checked may be unsettling. Prior to school starting, get out the thermometer or a picture of a thermometer and explain what it does and how it helps. Let them practice taking a stuffed animal or doll’s temperature.
Discuss the purpose of social distancing and practice staying six feet apart in different settings. Talk about ways to have fun safely and brainstorm ideas for recess games that can be played six feet apart.
Practice proper hand hygiene
You can use songs, rhymes, or other strategies to help your child remember the steps for hand-washing. You can also help by modeling proper hand hygiene and providing reminders.
If your child needs extra support when preparing to return, contact Ms. Z (email@example.com)
Adapted from SSM Health
Wearing a Mask Social Story
Social stories can be a good way to prepare students for changes.
Why Do People Wear Masks? Jack Hartmann Song
A fun and informative song with lots of images of other kids in masks
A video from Cincinnati Children's Hospital that explains mask-wearing in an age-appropriate way
Why Do People Wear Masks? Jack Hartmann Song
Tips for Acclimating Your Child to Mask-Wearing
Explain why we have to wear a mask
If applicable or appropriate, give them a brief explanation of why we should wear a mask.
Social stories or videos can be helpful for this. Contact Ms. Z (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like recommendations!
Allow child to choose a preferred mask
Material, Loops vs. Ties, Design
Consider spraying with a preferred scent or washing with preferred detergent
If child is sensitive to smells, wash with scent free detergent
If possible, have multiple masks so child can have choice each time they are asked to wear a mask
Make it more enjoyable and less aversive
Allow them to practice in a preferred place (i.e. on couch, in their bed, holding preferred toy, in your lap, etc.) Once they are successful here, you can move to other areas of the house and eventually out in the community.
Let them put a mask on a favorite doll or stuffed animal to help normalize mask-wearing
Model wearing a mask yourself.
While wearing the mask, allow them to hold preferred putty, fidgets, etc. to keep their hands busy.
Take mask breaks! Once you are practicing wearing the mask for longer periods of time and/or out in the community, have times built into your outing where you find a secluded space to go mask free for a few minutes. Adapted from Lauren Rothgeb, ACPS Autism/Behavior Specialist
Monthly Mindful Moment: Fall Leaf Breathing
Email Ms. Z (email@example.com) a picture of your family's Monthly Mindful Moment to see it featured on Red Hill's website or twitter account!