HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD'S WELL-BEING AND MENTAL HEALTH
It has been said that school days are the best days of your lives. It may be difficult to feel convinced of that statement in the aftermath of a pandemic. Physical well-being and mental health are two important areas of child development needing support at this time.
Education, as most people knew it, changed dramatically with the arrival of Covid 19. Now children are trying to face another new set of rules as they return to school.
School will be a different social environment from the ones they left behind. Parents will be feeling concerned too for this return to school, and the changes in regulations. Many aspects of school life look and feel different. This is a time for offering consistent support for your child’s well-being and for their mental health.
Communication is the key to reassuring your child of the way forward. Liaise with your child’s school and become familiar with the requirements. Healthy family discussions around what to expect are invaluable.
Talk about why wearing a mask and other new codes of conduct are important. Keeping an open mind and honest communication about changes defuses the mystery behind something new. This is a great way to relieve the anxiety attached to change.
Look out for stress signals and deal with them as soon as possible.
It may be something small like social distancing, when hugging a friend used to be so special, and now that is not allowed Explaining the implications and reasons for regulations helps to boost confidence. Make sure your child feels physically ready to go back to school. This is a time to be extra conscientious about following the regulations and be sure your child does not feel any different from the other children returning to school.
Trying to get back into a school routine, after so many changes, will take its toll on the mental well-being of children too.
Education has revolved around online learning and children have been working from home. There may be some gaps in their learning and some skills that need to be consolidated. It will help parents and teachers to be able to address these gaps.
Arranging a consultation time with the school would be a pro active step towards solving any problems in specific areas of understanding.
Parents are finding themselves in a new phase of education.
A recovery phase.
Not quite back to normal, but getting there. A time to think positively and have some strategies in place. Recovery can be a time of renewal and growth but the dynamics of the environment will change and will need a positive approach to get the best outcome.
A recovery plan needs policies, tools and procedures.
Make it your policy at home to talk about what is happening. How things have changed and what is the ‘new normal.’ Have a policy of understanding different feelings and looking for signs of anxiety and stress. Keep an open-minded policy as you and your child face changes together.
Give your child the tools they need to succeed. This could be as simple as new stationery to feel a boast of moral at school. Perhaps it is some extra tuition in a subject they are struggling with or a reward at home for trying hard to get back into the system. Make sure your child has a consistent routine to follow so their day proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Talk about the need for having a responsible approach to the safety measures. Wearing a mask, for example, is a procedure put in place for health and safely. If your child is using the internet for extra tuition ensure you have safe procedures in place. Explain return to school procedures. Making sure procedures are understood will make all the difference.
Remaining positive is probably one of the most important ways to support your child’s well-being and mental health. Let your child see and feel your positive attitude to the changes.
“These are not dark days: these are great days – the greatest days out country has ever lived!” said Winston Churchill during the Second World War.
We may not be in a physical war, but we are facing changing times. Having a positive attitude and policies, tools and procedures will help make the difference. These support systems along with communication and positivity will be great ways to support your child mentally and physically as you face challenges together.