Tips to transition your child from virtual learning back to in-person instruction this fall

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Kids Health Matters: Tips for transitioning your child from virtual learning back to in-person instruction
A child psychiatrist has tips for weathering the pandemic transition of virtual school learning back to in-person instruction.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's been a celebration this spring as students and teachers returned to school buildings.

"I'm excited about meeting new people and actually being in the classroom because it's hard to learn online," said second grader, Kaden Williams.

Hybrid learning, however, brings a new set of adjustments.

"Some kids are not happy to be back at school, but having lunch at their desk, for example," said Dr. Stuart Lustig, a behavioral health expert at CIGNA.

Dr. Lustig says parents set the tone for enjoying class without abandoning COVID precautions.

"So what that means is: 'Oh, I'm so excited you're going back to school, and here's what you can do to stay safe while you're there.' And that helps kids feel empowered, as well," he said.

Those measures include keeping masks on, washing their hands often, and staying at safe distances, even when they're tempted to get closer.

Setting a new routine for the mixed schedules also eases the adjustment, especially for children with learning differences.

"Getting up in the morning, being excited to see his friends, learning new things I think is very routine for every child. But for an autistic child, routine is everything," said parent Deneen Phifer.

Dr. Lustig says there's no doubt some learning and social skills have been lost. However, a CIGNA study found that 5-to-10 year olds are actually best at bouncing back, so he urges families to be patient and focus on the basics in math, language, and science.

"Parents can really work with educators, work with teachers to help support their students, their kids around areas of the curriculum that are really essential for further learning," said Dr. Lustig.

With some districts still largely virtual, even more adjustments will come in the fall. Parents can get resources to help on