Parents of Preston, we’re getting close to the schools reopening soon. How does this make you and your child feel?
It’s been almost 6 months since the kids had their change in routine to home schooling,
But in a matter of days, they’ll be returning to school.
None of us are in the same place we were back in March. With months of uncertainty, anxiety, new routines, new problems etc. We started to find a rhythm, if not a new balance.
Now we’re about to attempt to return to a little normality.
Some kids are super excited, they’ve missed their friends and even the teachers. But there’s still a lot of kids who are not in the same place emotionally.
When you think about it, they’ve been hearing about the killer virus on the news, TV, talked about at home and online.
We make assumptions about what are kids will be like, as many parents expect the kids to slot back into the old routine.
Probably from our personal need to get the kids out of the house. Get our own space back, plus a desire for the kids to enjoy being kids again and away from all the technology and gadgets at home.
Parents have mixed feelings too.
We’re worried about the changes in the schools, are they doing enough to keep the kids safe and what will the education be like?
What have the kids missed out on learning and can they catch up?
I’ve received a message from our child’s college about the shield track and trace system. It sounded terrifying at first glance until I went into more details about the system and its scope of use.
Whatever your thoughts or your child’s state of mind. There’s a few concepts that may help you, reassure you or allow you to think more positively about the new term.
Plant the seed
What’s your child’s reactions when you start talking about school?
Are they excited, glossing over the subject?
If you have a chance to walk or drive past the school, it’s good to build that connection again.
Driving past my old school is always strange as it’s a mixture of modern design and the old school house. After all this time there’s a lot of emotion still there in seeing the bricks and mortar and it’s good to have a little time to reflect on it.
It’s possible your kids will feel the same way too. If your child has the need to talk about how they feel. There may be some negative thoughts that are brought out and it can be an opportunity to explore them and help resolve issues that have been under the surface for a while.
You’ve also still got a little time to reframe the conversation if it turns negative. Putting some unpleasant thoughts the kids may have into a more positive light.
For example, if your child starts to dwell on a particular problem they had at school before the lockdown. Now is an opportunity to point out the good side too. Returning can be seen as a fresh start, getting to see friends again, taking part in an activity they enjoyed.
You may need to fish for it, but it will be there.
The parent mirror
Kids are mimics of their parents.
We do not get to choose which traits they mirror, they just copy us ‘warts and all’.
Often when we see a behaviour in them that we don’t like, it’s in us too. If we’re worried about the kids going back into school.
Our words may say one thing, but our bodies say something communicate something else.
Do not be surprised if kids interpret our body language instead of the spoken words.
There’s no need to hide how we feel. But allow the kids the opportunity express how they feel, if they want to talk about it.
Be patient, actively listen by asking curious questions like “I wonder what’s new at school” can be helpful.
Give them a chance to reflect and answer.
Enthusiasm is caught, so be positive and if you have school letters with updates about positive changes.
Mention these to your child as we assume they’re not interested. You may be surprised by their reaction.
Ease them back into a school routine
School holidays, time from the bricks and mortar. There’s a new routine in play.
Now is a great time to start shifting bed times in and getting up times back to normal. The kids are going to have to get used to sitting still at tables, less technology readily to hand.
You’ve a small window to ease them into new routines if you start now.
As a martial arts coach, there’s been a lot of time spent playing new games that help to build martial arts skills in a fun way. The of the old classics have been pulled out of the chest. It’s fun to play with the kids and they may enjoy sharing some with their friends for when they go back.
Rock Paper Scissors – The old classic 🙂
Try to make me giggle! One child has to try not to laugh and the other child says or does things which make them smile, giggle and laugh. We play this in class holding squats, planks or other stances that build strength too!
Scavenger Hunt – Fastest to find certain items from a list
Footgolf – Golf with your foot
Yes/No game – One child has to answer questions without ever saying Yes or No. It’s fun and not super easy!
ZIP, ZAP, ZOOM – Make a circle and stand apart from each other. One player starts the game by clap-pointing while saying, “zip,” to a player on his or her left. That player will clap-point and say, “zap” to a player on his or her right. Next, that player will clap-point while saying, “Zoom” to someone new. Keep the pattern going? Restart if the wrong command is said or someone claps in the wrong direction.
There’s plenty of games online too, you can look some up together.
Reading a story
Reading together books that features schools or watching a film is a great way to start revisiting emotions and positive framing too. Films for thought include:
High School Musical
Curious George: Back to School
Dead Poets Society
School of Rock
For older kids…. The history boys
If your child is worried, seriously worried you can let them know its ok to feel this way. If they’re feeling anxious, there are calming techniques that may help. Here’s a few links to some techniques to consider:
54321 calming technique: https://copingskillsforkids.com/blog/2016/4/27/coping-skill-spotlight-5-4-3-2-1-grounding-technique
Rubbing technique, best for groups:
Japanese 5 finger meditation:
You can also contact the school in advance to let them know how your child is feeling and to see if they’ve a strategy can help.
Maybe a cute note from the family in their packed lunch is a nice way to help them get over the hump of returning after such a long break.
If west coast martial arts can help your child with smoothly getting back to school. You can contact us here: https://www.kravclasses.com/contact/