Returning to school after a long vacation or an unprecedented situation such as the pandemic is usually met with mixed emotions by parents and the children. Challenges are many. As blissful as the back-to-school commercials look on television, it might not be the case in reality. When have you ever seen anyone do it perfectly? We doubt if may are able to nail this, quite smoothly. However, there might be a few ways you could make it easy for you and your youngster - with just a few tips from Tikitoro!
Here’s a guide to preparing your child and yourself for the road ahead
Challenge #1: Returning to a healthy morning routine
Mornings as mad and busy as they are, take a whole new form when schools begin again. Parents find themselves in a frenzy to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. This means sleeping earlier than you did during the holidays.
In the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber says, “The attitude behind your words is as important as the words themselves.” Experts suggest moving bedtime earlier in short increments so the change won’t feel too sudden or hard. Set an example and don’t stay up too late. Maybe an early ‘lights out’ is not so bad if it means you and your child will both get enough sleep before a school morning.
Make the morning routines fun – maybe add his own Tikitoro toilet kit to perk up shower times!
Challenge #2: Limiting screen time
This one’s a real challenge in this day and age of advanced technology, especially when your youngster would rather be on their gaming device or tablet all day than spend time with you. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in the US, 71% of parents believe that the widespread use of smart devices by young children could potentially result in more harm than good. Kids don’t usually understand how to regulate this habit of spending several hours on a smart device.
One way to limit this could be by offering an incentive system wherein they get X amount of screentime for completing a specific task. This will encourage them to be consistent with their behaviour as well as get things done.
Challenge #3: Calming the separation anxiety
In a back-to-school survey conducted by Parents magazine in 2021, it was found that 27% of parents were concerned about how their child’s mental health would fare. Working from home was a boon for many parents and kids. But with going solo and entering a new classroom environment could cause anxiety in both the parent and the child. How do you make it easier for him or her?
First things first, you must understand that your child will be in the hands of experts and in a safe environment. Keep a track of their schedule to pacify your own anxiety and theirs. You could always make this a fun activity by helping them make a schedule chart and colour coding the same. Another important thing to do is to reassure them when they worry and teach them a few methods to cope with their feelings (eg: mindfulness or deep breathing).
Challenge #4: Helping with homework
Helping your child stay on track with their school work can be a daunting experience when you’re juggling a hundred things with also being a parent. Now that a routine has already been established, set a specific time that can be devoted to school work only. Next, you can discuss their homework and look up some resources online to help them understand it better. Always remember that children have different learning styles and so may not always conform to the norms. If your child wants to do his or her homework on the lawn, then so be it!
If you still have your doubts, you can always hire an after school tutor that you trust or arrange for your child to study with a classmate.
Challenge #5: Finding after school activities & Socializing
Your growing youngster needs an extracurricular activity to keep them active in between school and downtime. These activities can help your child boost their academic excellence and help them socialize with their peers which makes them very important.
You can start by inquiring at the school to check if they offer special training in extracurricular activities. If not, the local community work just fine. Find out what your child is interested in and talk to them about signing up for something they would like to pursue. Although socializing after all this isolation may be hard for them, with enough reassurance and support, your child can get back into the flow of things.
Lastly, remember to validate your child’s feelings and work around what’s comfortable for you and them. As a parent, know that you’re doing the best you can and don’t be shy to reach out for help if you ever need it. As L.R Knost writes in The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline, “Connection, Communication, and Cooperation. These three elements, when interwoven with threads of understanding, respect, and love, are what combine to create the beautiful tapestry of a peaceful, happy home.” With that said, best of luck for the school year ahead!