Phase 1 of Reopening is underway, and that means the kids are heading back to school. Cue the mixed emotions! Which means you'll want to read this...
Many of us have been homeschooling in between working from home for the last two months and, without doubt, this #StayHome life has absolutely had its challenges. Now, as we gear up for Phase 1 of Reopening, there are some mixed emotions to deal with in our children. Trepidation and anxiety make way for relief and excitement – it’s a lot to deal with (and that’s just us for starters!). So here’s some pointers on how to prepare kids for going back to school after the circuit breaker…
The emotions: going back to school after lockdown
The pandemic has had a huge impact on family life, and especially on our children. However way you’ve been explaining Covid-19 to your kids, one thing has stayed the same: that we need to stay home to stay safe. So now, as the lockdown restrictions are lifting and the kids are heading back to school after the circuit breaker, leaving their sanctuaries can be a hard concept to wrap their heads around, resulting in a whole heap of emotions.
According to Chapter Zero Singapore, children may display signs of stress or anxiety in any of the following ways:
- Resistance to go to school
- Increased clinginess
- Increased tearfulness
- Poor sleep
- Temper tantrums
- Feeling unwell
- Lack of concentration
- Poor memory
- Defiant behaviours
- Regressive behaviours
Here at HoneyKids, we can absolutely relate. For many of us, pandemic life has meant more temper tantrums, defiance and regression, and a clinginess for Mummy or Daddy. It’s been a rough ride! So what can we do now the kids are going back to school after the circuit breaker?
The advice: what parents need to know
Above all, remember that this is a difficult situation, and children show their emotions in different ways. It’s not about being disobedient or ‘naughty’ – it’s simply your child being frightened and trying to cope with all the feels. Speaking to the New York Times, Dr Jill Bellinson, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in New York City who specialises in children and trauma, summed it up nicely: “This is not a definition of your kid from now on,” she said. “It’s a picture of your kid under pandemic conditions.”
The support: how you can you help
Don’t scrimp on the cuddles. When kids get scared or stressed, they hone in on us and need physical reassurance. Whether it’s becoming your shadow or needing extra hugs, admittedly it can sometimes feel a little draining. But experts suggest physical reassurance is an absolute necessity, especially at a time like this. So literally embrace their request for closeness and hug it out.
Talk through the feelings. These are some pretty big emotions to deal with. “Validate their feelings and assure them that this is normal,” advises Chapter Zero in this Instagram post. “Encourage and reassure them that you will be there to listen and talk to them.”
Prepare them for the transition. There are some small but helpful things you can to help kids adjust to going back to school after the circuit breaker. Chapter Zero suggests using language such as “when you go back to school” rather than “if you go back to school” when chatting with your children, plus using a calendar to countdown the days and talking about the safety precautions in place to help reassure them. Above all else, “Check in with your child about how they’re feeling, what they’re looking forward to and what they’re expecting. Validate their fears and correct any misconceptions.”
Look after yourself, too
Don’t forget, our kids mirror our own emotions too. Staying calm as you get ready to head back to school after the circuit breaker will help them adjust their own behaviour accordingly. Mindfulness for parents is a useful skill we can all benefit from, and there are some wonderful mindfulness apps for kids as well to help you all stay calm, confident and connected.
“Parenting and caregiving in a pandemic can be very stressful,” says Chapter Zero. “If it’s available to you, do connect with your family and friends, and seek support to lighten your load so that you can help your child.” Need further help or emotional support? Reach out to the National Care Hotline on 1800 202 6868 or check Gov.sg’s list of other helplines and services.
Top image: Element5 Digital on Unsplash