Sunday 7 March 2021
Home      All news      Contact us      RSS      English
newtimes - 12 days ago

Back to school: Managing anxiety, helping children to adjust

On February 19, a cabinet meeting decided that students in the City of Kigali go back to school from February 23, after four weeks at home in a lockdown that was imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. The announcement was welcomed by parents who felt their children were missing a lot—with home-schooling not being as effective and efficient—but it also came with a level of anxiety for both parents and children. From some schools making it mandatory for children to have a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test to others requiring parents to clear all dues before sending their children to school, the latest back to school season is a bag of mixed emotions, thanks to the unprecedented times the pandemic has brought about. “Personally, I am excited that the children are going back to school but this happening at this time of the month, the financial pressure is unbearable yet I know the schools too are in a difficult position,” says Aimable Uwikunda, a resident of Kimironko. Uwikunda believes there hasn’t been enough time to plan between when the announcement was made and when the children have to go back to school, but the most important thing is that children are now going back to school. It is not parents alone who are dealing with anxiety, teachers too will be grappling with making sure that children are able to cover all the remaining work in just one month or so before schools take a break again at the beginning of April. “With e-learning, not all children are at the same pace. Some have been consistent but others could not log into the system at all. So, you have kids who have made progress and others who are still behind yet they all have to be at the same level,” says Annette Umuziranenge, a teacher at one of the private schools in Kigali. Research done in different European countries showed that children’s lives are adversely affected by lockdowns, and it might require much more than simply adjusting for them to get back into the full ‘study mode’. Below are some tips to help little ones adjust as they go back to school. Adjust routines With the lockdown, there are high chances that routines of children (and adults) have been interrupted and relaxed, which will make it difficult for the young ones to adjust. You might need to reintroduce a new strict routine that emphasises meal times, bedtime and waking up time. While older children might prove difficult to deal with, it is important for parents to keep their children well aware of time by showing them the clock and making sure that they understand the essence of time. Support them academically Having spent a long time at home, chances will be that children will have to psychologically struggle to catch up with others, for example, who were able to study online, and also be able to cover a lot that is still unfinished, yet it must be covered in a short time. It can all be overwhelming if children are not given the necessary support at school and at home. Parents, therefore, must ensure that they support their children to re-adjust academically and not be left behind. Safety precautions As they go back to school, safety precautions and measures against Covid-19 remain as important as ever. Even in their schools, anything can happen considering that the virus is still around. Teach them that wearing a mask, social distancing and handwashing are a must, lest they go back into lockdown and miss school again. Teach them how you do it. Listen, counsel, reassure It is important for parents to encourage an open and honest conversation and listen to their children’s worries. Give them many hugs and let them know that you are there for them. If they struggle to talk, ask them to write down how they feel, or if they are younger, they can draw how they feel. Listen to them and counsel them where necessary and give them your reassurance. You never know how much they are going through. Make time to talk to them, it will be very helpful. Remember how demanding academic and social pressure can be even without adding in the additional stress of returning after a lockdown. Be careful not to belittle their concerns nor trivialise them. Visit the school, talk to the teachers For some parents, the cab guy, school buses or the driver do all the dropping and picking. It is advisable that parents make time to visit their children’s schools and be able to talk to the teachers on the progress of their children. This builds confidence in them and assures them that you are there. Make it fun Though the remaining ground to cover is a lot, avoid putting school-going children under undue pressure to finish their work. Find ways of making it fun and enjoyable and before you know it, you will have cleared a lot of pending work.


Latest News
Hashtags:   

school

 | 

Managing

 | 

anxiety

 | 

helping

 | 

children

 | 

adjust

 | 

Sources