With thousands of Kiwi students soon going back to school, Triple P Positive Parenting experts are providing easy-to-use, practical support, so children and young people can positively transition back-to-school and build their emotional resilience while doing it.
Triple P Country Lead, Jackie Riach, said that the ongoing upheaval from the pandemic continues to impact Kiwi whānau, adding another layer of stress during a time where there’s already a lot of change– going back to school.
“Children and young people may have mixed emotions in the lead up to school, from excitement to dread – all of which are normal. They may have COVID concerns, or be worried about friendship groups, coping with the workload, or going to a new school.”
“However, being able to cope with uncertainty is a key life skill, and with the right support and strategies, parents can help their children develop ways to tackle change more confidently, manage their emotions, and build resilience in the long term,” she said.
“Try to be positive and reassuring when talking about returning to school - a positive approach helps children face the future with optimism, not fear. Along with risks, there are many opportunities. It’s exciting!
“Parents can encourage children to talk about what they are looking forward to at school – show that you are listening and use questions to encourage them to share more of their thoughts and feelings.
“As a parent it can be difficult to watch your child experiencing difficult emotions but accepting that this is normal and encouraging children to talk about their feelings is important in helping them learn to cope with uncomfortable situations,” she said.
“Re-establish your back-to-school routine by talking about what will be involved in getting to school, doing a practice run, or planning which route to take - children (and adults) feel more confident when they know what’s expected and what’s going to happen. They’re also more likely to cooperate with routines that they’ve had a hand in making. So do encourage them to have a say and make decisions that impact them.
“Building a child’s independence is also key to creating future life success. For younger children, this can be done by encouraging them to pack their own bag and get their uniform ready. As they get older, children can get themselves up and out the door with all the things they need for a successful day.
“If your child is concerned about being COVID safe at school, help them develop a plan to follow. They may need reminders about washing their hands, wearing a mask or maintaining physical distancing,” Ms Riach said.
“No matter what changes this year brings, the ultimate sense of security for children is based on knowing they are loved and valued. Showing this through words and actions will put them in good stead for starting the school year.”
Thanks to funding from the Ministry of Health and support from Whāraurau as part of the COVID-19 public health initiative, Kiwi parents and carers in some regions can access free, online parenting support 24/7. The available online programs are Fear-Less Triple P Online, Triple P Online, and Teen Triple P Online, plus a guide to parenting during COVID-19. For more information, visit www.triplep-parenting.net.nz. Some support is available in Arabic, Spanish, and other languages.