Children’s health expert discusses back to school challenges

Dr. Marie Joane Cardin, a Montefiore child psychologist, shares advice on how to help children prepare for the classroom setting again after learning remotely.
Photo courtesy Montefiore

As children have been shuttered home for the past 18 months, returning to in-person learning will be a real adjustment for many of them, according to one psychologist.

Montefiore Child Psychologist Dr. Marie Joane Cardin spoke with the Bronx Times about ways to help students prepare for their return to the classroom. Cardin, who has been at Montefiore for three years, said many parents are concerned if their children will be able to handle the workload, schedule and overall getting used to not being at home as much again.

According to Cardin, numerous students struggled during remote learning as they did not have Wi-Fi or laptops, or simply did not learn the same via Zoom or Google Meet. As a result, there is concern that some children have regressed academically.

“Learning on the computer is difficult,” she said. “I think there is a concern that when they return to school perhaps they aren’t going to take the time to see if there are areas that need to be reviewed from the year before.”

Socially

Parents are also worried about social interaction. As every kid has a different set of social skills, returning to school in-person will be an adjustment for everyone, she said.

“Some of the kids are more excited to hang out with their friends,” Cardin said.

Another concern for parents is returning to a routine, Cardin added. Kids can no longer sleep late, eat meals whenever they choose or stay in their pajamas all day. The doctor hopes parents have gotten their children back in normal sleeping and eating patterns.

“Having a structure back in place will be a treat for them,” she said.

COVID-19

As kids are eager to return to the classroom, some moms and dads question how schools will follow masks mandates or social distancing guidelines. Additionally, the coronavirus affected children emotionally as well, the doctor said.

Cardin said many students were impacted by their parents loss of work and or family members that were sick or died from the virus.

“They pick up on things that happened with their parents,” Cardin said.

After surviving the pandemic, Cardin said the hardest part is over. Now, everyone must learn how to adapt and return to the classroom safely.

“I would like them to know that this is going to be hard,” she said. “Parents and kids are going to be sad.”

Cardin and her colleagues at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore also created back to school webinars in six languages, to help parents prepare children for their return to school this fall.

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes. 

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