– Bethsheba Sheth, HOD – Counseling and Special Needs, Orchids The International School
The last 2 years have been nothing but a roller coaster of a ride. Not in our wildest dreams could anyone think, that the world will literally come to a standstill. The coronavirus pandemic took us by storm and left a lot of devastation in its wake.
While we learn novel and uncertain ways to deal with getting back on our feet, let’s not forget the damage and loss of simple childhood activities, that our kids were deprived of, in these years.
Slowly but surely as our children step out to begin life as we once knew it once, they will need our support and guidance a little more.
A few simple yet effective measures we may adopt as caregivers:
- Giving children space to express themselves: this could be a corner in their room, talk with their favourite adult
- Talk about your fear and your anxiety with regard to these uncertain times. Talk about the coping mechanisms you are adopting to deal with it
- Allow your child to transition into school life one step at a time. Do not overwhelm them with instructions on the very first day. Keep them short and crisp. Address the most important ones first. Later as days go by, you may add to the list
- If your child shows signs of anxiety or reluctance for school, talk to him/her about it in a calm voice. Share your school day activities. You may even inform the school to keep an eye out for your kid.
- You along with your child set a goal for the week, for example we will order in this weekend or we will visit XYZ
- When they return from school, asking them about there is great, but if they don’t want to talk about it, give them a little time. Normalize talking about your day, your good and not-so-good moments in the day, the way you handled it, etc. That way you are creating a non-judgmental and non -threatening environment for them to express themselves
- Take a break: If your child has been continuously refusing school, it’s okay, let them take a break ( 1 day off from school). But make sure you are informing them that we are taking a day to break but you have to resume school the next day
- Try not to negate their thoughts and feelings. Phrases like “I hear you”, “I understand it can be tough”, and “How can I help?” reassures them of a safe sounding board.
- Last but not the least, set aside time each week with them (even if that is 20 mins), but keep it undivided and fully participative.
It’s not like the world took a pause and started from where we left off. During that pause, everything changed. We are social beings and every component was stripped away. It must get awkward for us adults too, as we resume our daily chores. It’s alright, we all are learning, I won’t be surprised if our children lead the way.