From the Chaplain – 19 February 2021

Welcome back everyone!

This new year of school did not necessarily start the way that most of us would have expected. I would like to focus on providing information on how parents can assist their children to transition back into their school routine.

Occupationaltherapy.com.au highlights that children may experience stress and anxiety when returning to school after a lockdown. Learninglinks.org.au also states that the longer days and different school routines are likely to affect some children more than others, which may result in higher levels of stress. Thus, supporting your child’s back to school transition is integral over the next few weeks. Theconversation.com provides parents with the following strategies to help their children have a positive back to school transition:

  1. Highlight the good about returning to school.

Parents and carers need to motivate their children to think about the things they are looking forward to, like seeing their friends, peers, and teachers. As children transition back to school parents need to portray a confident and optimistic attitude, by using positive and cheerful language around the topic of school.

  1. Provide support for emotional regulation.

Some children may express excitement regarding their return to school. However, for others the significant shift in structure and routine can be difficult. As a result, some children may have difficulties controlling either their feelings or behaviours. According to learninglink.org.au, the following steps can help ease your child to adjust to the long-structured day at school:

  • Afterschool let your children unwind if they enjoy having quiet time. Create a space in your home where they can retreat and process the events of their day. However, if your child is the opposite and is quite active, do fun activities that would help them to blow off some steam, such as exercising.
  • Create some time where you and your child can talk and reconnect without distractions. Have a conversation with your child to check-in and see how they are feeling (this may occur while you are driving back home from school, at dinner time, or before bedtime).
  1. Let the teacher know how your child is feeling.

Let the teacher know if your child has any worries or anxieties related to school, this will allow your child’s teacher to create specific strategies to help your child over the next few weeks.

Finally, I would like to leave with a word of encouragement. While all parents and carers are trying to make sure that back to school transitions are as smooth as possible, do not forget to take care of yourselves as well. Theconversation.com states that, “Parents who care for their wellbeing and mental health are better able to care for their children.” So be kind to yourself during the next few weeks.

Thank you,

Rumbi