Schools in Singapore reopen from 2 June 2020. Having been at home for the last few weeks together, making the transition to return to school may not be an easy one. There are adjustments which need to be made and emotions which need to be addressed.
The Child Development Unit at Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute recently put together a guide to aid parents with children who are returning to school. It provides advice on how to adjust to the current COVID-19 situation.
Back to School – A guide for parents to prepare children for school is 26-page ebook by NUH. It is filled with illustrations and includes practical advice for parents.
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Here are four takeaways that we had from the NUH Back to School eBook.
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1. Pack and Prepare
It is time to dust off the school bag again. Wash the uniforms and get the shoes cleaned. Having your child involved in these preparations can help get them into the frame of mind of going back to school.
On the practical side, preparing all you need for school in advance will help to avoid last minute scrambling and panic.
2. Take Care of Emotional Health
Children sometimes have difficulty expressing their emotions. After being at home with mummy and daddy for such a long period of time, they may be anxious about returning to school. Such anxieties may be mixed with feelings of excitement at the prospect of seeing their friends again.
Before the start of school, have a conversation with your child to ask about how he or she is feeling. Parents can also share about how they are feeling about returning to work or the office. Parents can suggest ideas on ways to deal with the emotions, for example, taking deep breaths or talking to an adult if feeling anxious.
3. Have A Dry Run of Precautionary Measures
Wearing of face masks or shields, frequent of washing hands, not touching the face and keeping a distance from others. These are part-and-parcel of the new normal in schools.
With the kids going back to school during the current COVID-19 situation, it is good to remind them to be mindful of these precautions. Better yet, get them to practise it at home first by going through different scenarios and even trying on the face mask or shields and pretending to be in class.
It is going to take a fair bit of adjustment with all these new precautionary measures. Getting children used to these measures early on will help them make the adjustments.
4. Send Positive Vibes
Children easily pick up on how their parents are feeling. While we may have mixed emotions about our children heading back to school, it is always helpful to focus on the positive. Remind your child about what he or she enjoys about school. Or give them something to look forward to after the first day at school, for example, their favourite meals.
The NUH guide also suggests additional strategies such as positive self-talk and a reward system.
View the NUH Back to School Guide here.