Smart Parenting: How to Help Your Kids Get Over the Back-to-School Blues
The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
26 June 2022
Ms Susan Koh, a family life specialist from charity Focus on the Family Singapore, adds that parents should also reinstate rules on technology use, like curfews and not allowing mobile phones in the bedroom.
Ms Koh says: "Be intentional to engage our children to talk about returning to school and what to expect instead of being on autopilot mode and letting things happen."
She suggests prompting children to remember what they enjoy about school, like seeing their friends, taking part in their co-curricular activity or ordering their favourite food from the canteen.
"Listen without jumping in to problem-solve and invite the child to respond on what support or help he or she hopes parents can provide," she adds.
Ms Koh says children may struggle to return to school after a long break.
"It is only natural that most children would feel overwhelmed at the thought of giving up their newly experienced freedom and moving back into an environment of structure, stress and studies."
Older children and teenagers might not look forward to the academic stress or, for some, having to face bullies, she adds.
Parents can encourage them to journal and express their feelings, she says, which is a helpful exercise for children who are more introverted or introspective.
For younger kids, role-playing scenarios can help them gain confidence in managing situations in school or their emotions, she says.
"Depending on the personality of the child, sometimes having a buddy system helps too. Parents can make arrangements with their child's good friend to head to school or walk to class together," she says.
And for pre-schoolers, providing them with their favourite toy to take along in their bags can help them feel calm and secure, she adds.
Ms Koh adds: "Be prepared that the first few days or week could be a rough adjustment phase for our children. They may get more tired after their first few days back to school, struggle to pay attention in class or become less tolerant.
"We must manage our expectations and emotions and provide safe spaces for our children to whine and vent. Once the big emotions settle, hold and assure them that you are there for them and you support them."