Schools are set to reopen this fall. The school reopening step comes after a long period of reeling under lockdowns, pandemic-related uncertainties, and a lot of guesswork about how life is going to be post-pandemic. The facial masks, ventilation, and the soon-to-be-mandatory vaccination are some of the steps that schools will take to avert any pandemic-related risks.
Most of us are simply thrilled to see normalcy of life resume in some form as the schools reopen. However this time, it’s going to be different. And, we say so for both children and parents.
With the news of schools reopening, children are understandably iffy about the new way of life that will follow. Despite the schools reopening and resuming offline teaching, the actual school life for children will be drastically changed. No more handshakes or sharing of snacks and whispering in the ear of a friend, top it with not being able to see their friends’ smile! That’s too much change, isn’t it?
Harold Koplewicz, founder of the Child Mind Institute and author of “The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety.” says “Our children are going to show signs or symptoms of anxiety when they reenter,”. And because parents are so relieved their children are getting back to school, we won’t understand why they’re not happy.”
As a parent, this is the time to help your child be ready for the new way of attending school and help them overcome any anxiety they may experience after re-joining.
Here are 5 easy and actionable tips to ready your child for school, once again:
1. Upgrade their existing resources
It’s now time to supplement your child’s learning resources. As schools reopen, your child will need a mix of online & offline, digital, and physical resources. Reverting to all-books-based learning might not serve the purpose anymore. Invest in expanding the existing resources that your child has used during the pandemic:
- Upgrade their computer/ tablet to the latest OS version to ensure they have a working speed
- In the absence of 1:1 discussions like there used to be, your child will need more reference books. Get them a second reference book in each subject
- Don’t pull them out of the online classes in one go. Let them continue some of the extra-curricular classes online even as schools reopen
- Get them some creative, interactive planners (online or physical notebooks)
- It may also be a good idea to invest in monthly subscriptions and Edu-games that can maintain the element of fun. We recommend the likes of Kahoot which is a free game-based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – any subject, in any language, on any device and, for all ages!
2. Get the extra help that’s customized for their learning needs
There has been no better time than now to get your child a professional tutor’s help. This is for both academics and other activities viz piano, painting, sketching, etc. As your child will begin to adapt to the physical mode of instruction at school, they will need extra help more than ever.
A tutor can not only help your child excel at a subject (or an activity) but can also help them emotionally. This is because children often have lesser inhibitions while opening up to a tutor who spends time in one-on-one interaction with them. Don’t know where to start looking for a tutor that fits your expectations and also the budget? Visit Talentnook.com and start exploring hundreds and thousands of tutor profiles. Request for demo lessons, discuss your goals, expectations, and your budget, and only choose the one who fits your bill the best!
3. Manage back-to-school anxiety
Your child might face back-to-school anxiety like many other children of their age. Know that it is perfectly normal for a child to react this way. After all, the pandemic changed their way of learning almost overnight! The good news is that this anxiety can be tackled and there’s a lot you can do to help them. Start with one or more of the following:
- About 10-15 days prior to official reopening, go to the school with them. Walk with them on campus if you’re allowed. Be sure to talk positively about all the fun that school was and how exciting it would be to go back
- Get them to video call their friends and ask them to share their feelings about going back to school
- Make an effort to be available for your child. Drop and pick them up for at least the first two weeks. Take out time to ask them how did they feel at school and help them with their homework too, if possible
- Promote a healthier lifestyle at home. Bananas, oats, berries, nuts, etc. promote better brain function and regulate mood. Start small by making simple replacements like replacing cookies with oat cookies, chocolate with dark chocolate, etc.
- If the anxiety issue persists, talk to your child and the school counselor to get external help in time
4. Tweak the daily schedule at home
With so many sudden changes going on, your child will seek more comfort at home. Tweak their daily schedule to adjust for their new emotional, physical, and cognitive needs. Start with simple things like giving them more time to get ready for school. Try and have more dinner table conversations with your child. Let them watch their favorite show for 15-20 more minutes if it helps them stay happier and aligned. Work with them on putting together a schedule on a magnetic whiteboard, discuss the progress while laying out the table.
Incorporating healthy habits like a pre-bed shower, a quick 10 minute morning stretching routine, eating a bowl of fresh fruits, etc. can also help your child cope with changes in a more positive way.
5. Use affirmations and praise them actively
Children learn fastest when praise is meted out to them in return for their simple actions. As your child gears up for a new inning as the schools reopen, try and infuse more praise for the smallest of things. If they get up early on their own or even attempt homework in time, praise them without making it artificial or staged.
Use positive affirmations to subside all pandemic-related fears that social media has been spreading. Avoid using serious language or negative affirmations like, “life will never be normal but you must go back to school and adapt yourself.” This can be very damaging for your child at a subconscious level!
Here are a few examples of using positive affirmations that go straight to your child’s subconscious:
- “Using masks is easy. Let’s get you some good quality face masks, will you choose the color?”
- “We spent so much time together while you attended school online. We will continue with all our cards and board games even when the school opens!”
- “I am so excited to attend the parent-teacher meetings once again. Aren’t you excited to meet your teachers and friends again?”
We hope these easy-to-act-on tips will help you and your child overcome all challenges as the schools reopen. For more such quick, actionable reads, click here to read Talentnook’s exclusive parenting-related and other articles.