School closures have been received differently by children; you have one group that welcomed the extended holiday, while others actually missed going to school. Thus returning to school will be another big shift or change that will need both families and children to navigate carefully.
Your child has been home for over 2 months and adjusting to go back to school will take time. This is why it is important for parents to start building up school routines in the home so that your child is mentally prepared well before time. There are a few things you can do with and for your child to help them prepare for that transition and limit the anxiety they already have. Children are bound to be affected by change and that sometimes makes it difficult to cope. There are feelings that generate with change; instability, confusion, anxiety and stress. This is much more prominent when change is sudden. Parents should go above and beyond in assisting educators by supporting and facilitating the transition ahead of them. Here are a few tips on how parents should help adjust their children to go back to school.
Set Up a School Routine:
- Follow sleep and wake up times that your child uses when schools are open so their brains can adjust to a different sleep pattern.
- Get ready for the day. Make sure you and your child get dressed and prepare in the morning as you would on a school day.
- Get your child back into the mindset of learning. Have class times where your child does school work, reads, writes and engages with academic material.
- Limit the use of technology (Television time, cell phone and internet use).
- Make sure your child exercises. This will help with boosting brain power, stamina and focus in preparation for classes to start.
Speak About Going Back to School:
- Your child will have some level of stress and anxiety about going back to school. Slipping conversations about school every now and again will ease the idea of the incoming transition with less dread.
- Normalize their feelings of worry or nervousness. Reassure them that their feelings are justified and that they will overcome them once they settle in.
- Create a safe space for them to speak and voice out their thoughts while you listen and offer silent support. Sometimes, children just want to vent.
Awaken The Desire for Learning:
- Ask your child about their favorite things about school so that they are occupied with the positive aspects of going back to school.
- Make sure they are in touch with their schoolmates and friends. The familiarity they share about school will ease their worries because they know they are not alone.
- Speak about the future, what they aspire for, their ambitions and the process they need to follow to get there.
- Show interest too. Your energy rubs off on your child.
- Be aware of your child’s feelings, body language and demeanor as school draws near. This will help you see what they don’t say.
- Allow your child to express their thoughts and feelings.
- Find solutions to the challenges that they encounter so they always have your support and reassurance.
- Allow them to experience the adjustment without always interfering.
- Do not overwhelm them with school talk as it may be counterproductive to your goal.
Remember, every child is different so adjustments are not cut throat; find what works best for your child to best prepare them for school. Above all, make sure you look after yourself and your children. It is not an easy road but it can be crossed.