Change is never easy and for children, moving to a new school environment is stressful and can cause upset regarding grades or behavior. The recent rise in home learning due to the ongoing pandemic has tested millions of children – and their caretakers – worldwide, with more changes than ever before neither child nor teacher can control.
As such, in this article we’ll discuss Helping Children Settle In A New Learning Environment, may that be at an entirely new school, a school imposing restrictions for safety during the pandemic, or developing effective methods for working from home.
Talk Candidly With Your Child
You both know the new school year is going to be different. Leaving their anxieties unspoken will impact their ability to settle into school, so it’s best to discuss the potential changes to their old routine while remembering to reassure and remind your child of the positives. Going to new schools means new friends; returning to a school using restrictions means seeing teachers and old friends face to face again; and working from home can be far more relaxed, as there isn’t a rush to get dressed, eat breakfast and they can’t forget their books.
Give Them A Momento
Especially for young children, separating from a parent for long periods can be upsetting. If your child is hesitant or emotional about leaving you, give them something to keep in their pocket to remind them you’ll be there to pick them up later. A small, hand-written note, a pebble from the garden or your favourite keyring are all easy to transport and non-obtrusive choices. You can also create personal rhymes to recite if they feel overwhelmed, if you’re the creative type.
Discuss What To Expect
School right now is very different to how it was when we went. Make sure you talk to your child about the planned changes in their school or current regulations at a new school – and if you’re unsure, give them a call! They’ll happily share the details with you. If they have an online resource, read through it with your child and answer their questions about hand hygiene, masks and social distancing. It’ll make you both feel more confident of expectations.
If they’ll be learning from home, sit down with them and write up a schedule. Make sure you both know what they’ll be doing and when, discuss learning goals and expectations, and create a space for them just for lesson times. If they’re struggling to focus, consider switching up where their workstation is – is it too quiet? Would they rather be in the kitchen, where they can ask for help more easily? -and use a reward chart to encourage success.
Facilitate Bonding With Others
If your child is physically going to school, introduce them to their new teacher or encourage them to make a welcome back card for an existing one, building a personable and caring relationship between them. For fellow classmates, if they talk about a child frequently or a teacher notes a friendship blooming, add them to your social bubble and invite the kid and their parent over for a playdate, so they can continue to build their relationship outside of school.
This can be more difficult over remote learning due to quarantine. Playdates and gifts may not be possible, but your child can still make those they adore pictures to show in calls, set up group meetings outside of academia with new and old friends and interact with the teacher during classes. It’ll take more dedication, but it’s certainly possible.
Keep Your Bonds Strong
When children get anxious they look to their caregivers, but they need to know you’re still there for love and fun stuff too. Set aside time just for your child before and after school, especially as they transition to a new environment; cuddle on the couch every morning before starting the morning hustle, and develop a calm and relaxing bedtime routine to put them to bed in a good state of mind. They’ll wake up rested, happy and prepared to take on the day.
Finally: Be Patient
Whether it’s returning to an old school or embarking on an entirely new learning experience, it’s important to be patient with your child. Change makes us anxious, causes stress and can be difficult to adjust to if it drastically alters an established routine. Be kind, reward the little things and shoot for the stars, but most of all tell your children how proud you are of their fortitude, their adaptability and their progress.
Ashley Halsey, a professional writer at Lucky Assignments Glasgow and Gum Essays, has been involved in many projects throughout the country. A mother of two, she also works as a tutor at Research papers UK and in her free time, enjoys reading, attending business training courses and travelling.