After months of disruption caused by the COVID pandemic we are preparing our kids to go back to school next month. For many parents and students this will bring a whole raft of emotions and fears.
If you have been working from home during his time you will have had to deal with homeschooling as well as work. If you have been going out to work then childcare will have been your biggest challenge and fitting it around the demands of work.
The school routine
Whatever challenges you have been facing, the return to school will turn our daily schedules we have grown accustomed to on their heads. We will have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ of getting the kids ready in time for school, arriving at the allotted time and preparing them for the return to sitting in a classroom with the additional COVID distancing protocols in place.
This could stir up a lot of emotions. Parents will need to be able to not only coach their kids to enable them to deal with the changes, but may need support themselves to cope as they may have attachment issues of their own to deal with. Exhaustion is a factor too. After all it takes a lot of mental energy to hold all this stuff inside our heads for so long! As a parent it is hard to get it ‘ right’ all the time (or anytime if you listen to your teens!) but when you can’t control what is happening you can control how you respond.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.
Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.
Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Navigating the “new normal”
So how do we find a solution to this situation? We are still processing what happened during lockdown and now we have to work out how to get ourselves and our children into a routine that is very different to what we are used to? It is more than a little overwhelming!
We have put together our top 5 tips that will hopefully help you and your family make the necessary adjustments and feel more in control with your situation:
- Talk to the school and other parents to see what support they can offer.
- Try to introduce gratitude practice, and look for a positive in every situation.
- Explain to your children that sometimes things are out of your control, but that makes it even more important to look for every opportunity to make the most of what support you have.
- Listen to their fears, anger, sadness and grief, without trying to “fix” it. Assure them that what they are feeling is normal and that they are not alone, then reassure them that you will be there for them throughout it all. When we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, even the painful ones, and not fight them, we allow them to pass much quicker.
- Talk to someone about your feelings and get them to reflect it back to you, it often helps to hear your story back to see how it can be reframed or simply acknowledged. Try this with your family too.
Ultimately don’t leave your children out of the conversation. They understand more than they let on and will undoubtedly have overheard people speaking although perhaps not fully understood it all.
You are not alone
There are lots of support groups or tools you can use to start some growth-mindset conversations with your family, including these planners and conversation prompt cards, or you could reach out to friends and family to talk through your feelings and use their insights and experience to help find solutions.
If you would like some support for your child, then you might want to look at this page as it contains lots of links and support ideas you could try.
And some useful contacts: