Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, school life has drastically changed over the last 12 months. We’ve had zoom classes and parents becoming teachers. Some have even held virtual school fundraisers just to help out the struggling education sector. Saying it’s been a tough year is putting it lightly.
Not to sound too optimistic, but an end to lockdowns and restrictions is on the horizon. And kids are poised to head back to school. Again. It’s looking like some forms of restrictions will continue on their return, like social distancing and masks. So how do we help them transition into a ‘new normal’?
Here are just some constructive ways to help your kids adjust to school life after lockdown part 3.
Take The Time To Recognise
It’s worth taking just a little time to recognise how much we’ve all been through over the last 12 months. And how much more we might have to deal with in the future. Everything is in constant flux at the moment. We don’t know if this is the last lockdown, no matter how much we might wish for it.
Everyone’s experience of lockdowns has been different. That includes our kids. How has this been for them? Letting them talk about how they’re feeling goes a long way to validating their experience. And they’ll be grateful for the recognition.
A Safe Place
Making our kids feel safe, both physically and emotionally, is really important. It’s worth asking them what their worries are in regards to returning to school. The media throughout the pandemic has really ramped up the fear factor. And that’s got to have an impact on our children.
Creating a safe space for them to talk freely, or not talk at all, can positively help them work through everything. It lets you create a proactive plan for their return that’ll make them feel confident and self-assured.
Have some empathy for the multitude of emotions your kids will have at this time. They might be scared, angry, confused, even excited to be getting back to school to see their friends. They’re all valid emotions, and we can relate to them easily. We’ve all been through the same experience.
It can be constructive to be honest with them about how you’re feeling too. Maybe you’ve struggled. Perhaps you’ve enjoyed this time with them and are sad to see it come to an end. Letting them know you’re feeling the same emotions confirms their experience.
The experience of trauma through the pandemic has been collective. Even though everyone has been through lockdown, we need to recognise those differences in trauma.
All these tips overlap each other, and that isn’t different for validating trauma. Continued conversations and efforts to create safe spaces are building blocks to helping our kids out of this with a positive mindset.
Take The Opportunity
Lockdowns have shed light on things we didn’t know needed changing or improving. Use the conversations you’re having with your kids to put a constructive plan in place for a better future. It’s been hard. But it’s worth recognising the good that’s come out of one of the most challenging situations you and your kids have been through.
Think about how you can learn from the experience. Your childrens’ return to school might not be exactly what they had in mind. How can you make changes to help them through that?
It might have been a long time since your little ones have seen some of their friends. Helping them reconnect before returning to the classroom can help ease anxiety and get them excited to return.
It’s also worth engaging with their school teachers again. A good relationship between yourself and their teachers makes everything easier and keeps conversations going about continuing support.
Like relationships, getting our kids engaged with school again is vital to making their return to school a smooth one. We’ve been here before, after all. After the first lockdown, the kids went back to school. So they have an idea of what’s in store. But months later and not much has changed, so how can we keep their school engagement up?
They can’t be blamed for feeling tired and having low motivation. But it’s essential to help them acknowledge the importance of school. Not just for learning, but for friends and experiences too.
Engagement is also about continuing to connect with them about their health and well-being. Keep the conversations coming and keep them open. No two days will be identical for our children going back to school. And with the pandemic continuing, we know how much things can change from day today.