How are your children doing in school? And how are you coping with your kids’ new schedule? As experts in child development and learning support, we receive many questions from parents, such as “What can I do if my child resists returning to school?”, “How can we communicate with the teachers about classroom accommodation if my child has special needs”, etc.
We hear you. In this article, Lei, ELG’s Educational Psychologist, shares her expertise and communication tips about how to help your child smoothly transition back to normal school life.
1. Allow your children (and yourself) to experience the stress. This particular step seems counterintuitive, but acknowledging the stress that both you as a parent and your children are experiencing makes it that much easier to move beyond it. This is a great opportunity for you to sit and talk with your child about what is bothering them, what their fears are, and what can be done to help them feel better about the new surroundings and circumstances that they are finding themselves in.
2. Cut your children some slack. Children in new educational settings are already overwhelmed with new schedules and teachers, so they do not need extra pressure to perform at home. Lessen your children’s load when it comes to extracurricular practices, church functions and other activities that will add unnecessary stress. Slowly introduce your children to outside activities, acclimating them to their normal level of activity.
3. Talk to your child’ teacher about your concerns. No one will understand how much stress you and your child are going through better than your child’s teacher. Discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher and ask for feedbacks. You are likely to discover that your teacher has resources to help you help your child. ELG provides parent workshops in many international and bilingual schools, you can check with your child’s teacher to find out more.
4. Talk to fellow parents. By joining a parent support group, you can talk to other parents who may be in the same boat as you are. They understand exactly what you are going through. By doing that, you will not only feel less alone, you will also learn out useful strategies other parents may be using with their children who have similar problems as yours.
5. Let your children have playtime with you.Weekends are easily filled with commitments that cannot be fulfilled midweek, but carving out some time on the weekend shows your child that you are willing to set time apart for them. As most schools in Shanghai ask students not to leave Shanghai due to the Coronavirus, it could be a perfect time for you to take your children to a park, museum, or zoo. Regardless of what you decide to do, your children will appreciate the fact that you want to spend time with them.
6. Keep open communication with your children. The best way to know when your child is doing well is by talking to them. If you keep tabs on what your children are doing, you will know if they are struggling or doing well in their transition. This requires constant communication with your child about how they are feeling. Before you know it, you and your children will be happily settled into your new environments.
7. Share your own positive stories about school. Recall memories of your childhood and how much you enjoyed the school.
8. Give it time. The first few weeks of the school year can be an adjustment for everyone. As prepared as you and your child are, there may be ups and downs as you both get used to the routine and develop a new schedule for homework and other activities. However, if your child is experiencing consistent difficulties or struggles, especially now that it’s been a month since the school started, we suggest that you talk to a professional.