In the Media: ABC radio Melbourne, 5.20pm
Strathcona’s Junior School Psychologist, Mrs Sharon Turner, spoke to Raf Epstein about students return to school and some top tips that parents and students can do to make it easier next week as Melbourne schoolchildren step back through the gates after the long period at home. Click the cloud to listen.
While many children are excited and eagerly awaiting the return to school after being in lockdown, some will still be a little apprehensive and others will need a little extra support in managing their emotions on the up coming return.
Here are 4 things you can do to help make the adjustment back to school a little easier during the coming weeks.
- Care – assist children and adolescents to get back into their normal school routines. Many children are sleeping in later and staying up longer than they would during non COVID times. Help ensure their body clock is back into the requirements they will need to cope when school returns. For younger children, it might also be worth considering meal times and ensuring these will also be inline with times that they will be eating when at school. A child that is well rested and fuelled with energy will manage the return to school on a more even keel.
- Calm – COVID-19 has been a stressful time for everyone. Be careful not to share anxieties you might have your child’s wellbeing upon returning to school with them. The on again off again attendance at school this year is enough to stress any child. Your calm presence will assist them to feel that they are ok to be returning to school.
- Connection – Work with your child to ensure they are connected or reconnect with another friend or friends over the coming weeks before the school return. It might be a catch up at the park as they ride bikes, play with a ball together, throw a frisbee or play on the playground or chat via technology (younger children being supervised by an adult). Feeling a sense of connection to someone at school will add to their excitement about returning to school.
- Cope – With the new ‘COVID Normal’ emerging, knowledge and education about what to expect will allay many anxieties and fears your child has. Ensure they know what the expectations will be for keeping well and safe and why this is important. This will ensure greater capacity to engage in these behaviours but an understanding of the reasons why decreases fears and anxiety around why they are required. Talk with them about the fact that some people may be wearing masks, the importance of handwashing, not sharing food, coughing and sneezing etiquette and social distancing. Limit reassurance and instead, acknowledge and normalise any worries they have about returning to school and their capacity to cope with skills they have in their tool kit, such as breathing techniques and thinking more helpful thoughts.
Mrs Sharon Turner
Strathcona Junior School Psychologist