Transitions are a normal part of life, but the transitions many of our students are already experiencing, or will experience at the start of the next academic year, will be significant.
Whether your child is moving schools, to a new country, going into Secondary school or starting Primary, this transition will need to be carefully planned and sensitively managed.
There are various reasons why some students are more likely to struggle with transitions than others, and if you believe your child will find transitioning difficult, be sure to inform the school beforehand so that you and your child can be supported.
Whatever your situation might be, here are some tips on how you can prepare your child for transitions following lockdown (by the Mental Health Foundation, UK):
• Start talking – your child might have worries about returning to school. You can help your child by managing their worries and anxieties by using the ‘Time for Us’ resource.
• Sleep routine – No doubt that this will be a tough one to reintroduce, but helping your child return to their normal sleep routine in the weeks before school resumes will be essential in their ability to settle back into school life.
• Talk about school – start talking about what your child’s daily routine could look like. It is hoped that there will be clearer picture about what the ‘return to school’ plan will look like towards the end of the summer holidays.
• Model coping strategies – reconnecting with friends and family where possible, doing regular exercise and using calming techniques will all help you and your child manage any worries and feelings related to transitions or school resuming after lockdown.
• Make yourself available as much as possible – create opportunities and a safe space for your child to talk to you in different ways, as they may want to come and talk to you at a time when you least expect.
• Look at the positives together – it is helpful to talk about some of the positives that have come out of lockdown and school closure. Also, talk about some of the things that they are looking forward to which may alleviate some of their worries.
• Be mindful of unplanned endings and disrupted attachments – sadly, many of our students and families will be unable to say goodbye to their friends and teachers and this will have a significant impact on them emotionally. Also, with having spent so much time at home with parents, regardless of age and stage of development, many students and parents will experience separation anxiety at some level!
If the problem arises, after few weeks into schools re-opening, and you feel that your child is not feeling settled and is not able to cope with new school challenges, it is recommended that you to speak with the class teacher/form tutor or the school counsellors about how best to support your child. We will still be in this together!
The British International School Abu Dhabi School Counselling Team