Back to School: How to Help Your Child Adjust to the New Norm


Back to School: How to Help Your Child Adjust to the New Norm

Be ready and safe for school

By June Yong | 5 June 2020

As our children prepare to head back to school in these two weeks, what can we do to smoothen the transition?

Here are 6 tips to help your children thrive in this tumultuous season.

1. Be the calm

Many parents, like myself, are feeling mixed feelings as we countdown to school reopening.

What if my child can’t breathe well in the mask?

What if he feels stuffy and wants to take it off?

What if she feels overwhelmed by schoolwork after such a long break?

The truth is there will always be worries. But let’s remember that fear can be infectious. So let’s be the calm we want to see in our children.

Take control of your thoughts and write them down, then write a plan of action beside it.

It's normal to feel some anxiety, so know that you’re not alone. But take control of your thoughts and write them down in a notebook, then write a plan of action beside it. This will help you regain control of that anxiety by focusing on something you can do.

2. Practice using the new essentials

What are the essentials of this season? Hand sanitisers, wet wipes, masks, and face shields. Let’s not forget Ziploc bags to help store dirty masks until your child can dispose of them or wash them at home.

It’s good to get your child to practise wearing a mask at home for short periods. Also demonstrate to them how to keep the mask carefully into the spare Ziploc when they need to eat at recess. If possible, place all these ‘new-normal’ essentials in the same compartment of their bags so they know where to look.

3. Rehearse what to do

What do you do…if you accidentally drop your mask on the floor?

What do you do…if your friend touches your mask or face shield?

What do you do…when you want to eat your food but forgot to bring your Ziploc bag to store your cloth mask?

The list is endless but it is good to identify some of these possible scenarios and run through what to do with your child.

4. Listen to them

We’re often very good at giving our kids instructions but are we just as intentional at tuning in to their hearts? Perhaps now is a good time to practise. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What is one thing you’re looking forward to doing in school?
  • What is one thing you’re not so excited about?
  • What is one worry that you have?
  • What can we say to that worrying thought?
  • What is one thing you will miss most about this circuit breaker?
  • What is one thing you’ve learnt about yourself during this circuit breaker?

5. Run through the new rules

With the new rules and restrictions in place to prevent inter-class mingling, your child may struggle to understand why he can no longer talk to his friends from other classes or cohorts.

We can discuss with them about the specific rules that the school is implementing and help them understand why these are needed. For example, we can explain by saying, “The school wants to keep you safe, so you can only interact with the friends in your class.”

Wherever you can, try stating the rules using positive speech, for instance, instead of “No talking to friends in other classes” we can say, “Only talk to the students in your class.” This helps them to understand the rule better.

6. Stay positive

While it’s important that we all take the virus situation seriously and act responsibly, we can also choose to set a limit of the amount of worrying we do, and to shift gears to focus on the positive. This will give us the mental resources we need to weather this storm together.

In the same vein, refrain from scaring your child to submission; instead, remind them, “Let’s stay safe together by washing our hands well, and by keeping our hands off our faces.”

By practising these simple tips, we will help our children be more aware and accepting of the new school normal that they will be part of soon. Let’s stay safe and strong together, Singapore!

© 2020 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.


For more ideas to help you thrive in this COVID-19 period, bookmark our comprehensive COVID-19 resource page.

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