Returning back to school brings along a mix of emotions for many students. I don’t think any of us thought that kids would say that they missed school. The consensus has been that kids missed having face-to-face interactions. Having classes online was difficult to get acclimated to for various reasons. Kids were easily distracted, because they were required to attend school in a way that they had not before. Many have reported that they missed having a teacher especially when they had difficulties understanding the material. Being at home they were not readily able to ask their teacher for help, or get the teacher to show them how to solve a problem step by step after class if they were still struggling to understand the material, and this individual help was not available in the home setting, or at least it didn’t translate as well online.
Through talking with people and with what I have personally witnessed when working from home, some kids would walk around because they were bored and tired of sitting at the computer for hours on end. Then there was the aspect of students and parents working from home together, and students asking their parents for technological help, which was not available in all homes because not every parent is computer savvy, which left some children frustrated. We all cannot forget about Internet and WIFI issues, or not being able to log on to Zoom because for some reason the link got messed up.
On the parent side of things, you had a second job. If you were set to work remotely you also had to adjust to working from home, while also making sure your kid was on the computer for class, talk about multitasking!
Now going back to a new routine, not even the routine that the child was stripped from but a new one will have it’s own list of difficulties. Some kids are really scared to go back to school, and not for the reasons you would initially think. Many kids struggle with school because they are shy, or introverted, but also from bullying from peers. Now think about being gone for a year or so, and now having to confront the people that used to bully you, that is a difficult reality for a kid to face. This brings up self-esteem issues, worry, and feelings of dread.
Some kids have already been back to school and some have not. Going back to school is going to look different, and I can tell you from experience, one of my grandchildren had a square where he did Physical Education at, and now they have staggered lunches, where kids don’t get to see all of their friends like they used to. School wasn’t the same for my grandchild, and was not what he remembered. The kids couldn’t run around together, or sit with one another at lunch. The school they missed had changed.
On the parental side, many parents realize that many things happened in school that they were not aware of. With this new awareness they have to send their kid back to an environment that is scary, and the question is “How do you help your kids deal with going back to school if this is their fear?”
With the new information that we have we can’t exactly go back to how things were before the pandemic, living separate lives in the same home, not communicating, or having a lack of awareness of what is happening to your child at school. You have to spend quality time with your kids, and this is not just eating dinner together, but asking them questions, “What about your day was great? And what about your day was challenging?” And not only ask the question but listen to the answer, it will give you good insight into your child, what their struggles are and what they need support with. Spend time together play games, talk to them about something they read, and ask “What did you like about that?” This will help them with school and allows them to be open about their thoughts, opinions, and learn to better express themselves. You don’t want it to be “your world” and “their world,” the two worlds need to come together. As a parent or guardian, you get to be their advocate, and then you can teach them to be an advocate for themselves.
The main thing I am trying to get across here is that communication is key in any relationship, and during a transition period especially. With children they learn their cues from us as adults. Listen to each other and allow each other to express one another’s feelings, it will allow our children to be a whole lot healthier and a whole lot happier and opens the lines of communication that will allow you to know more about what is going on at school, and lets you know when you need to step in. Now that we have this information, we also have to ask the question, “How are you really?”
Connect more with one another and open the lines of communication.