A simple reminder for all parents

As our children go back to school, they will need our emotional and practical support

Students have returned to school this week.  Reem Mohammed / The National
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Pupils are back in school this week after the long laid-back and routine-free days of summer holiday. This means that they will now face new challenges and return to school-time rules, tasks and homework, not to mention the stress of joining a new classroom, and meeting new teachers and classmates.

All this can create great pressure on children who generally need parental support particularly at this time of the year. As The National reported, clinical psychologist Elena Andriotis estimated that about one in five school children suffer stress and anxiety about their academic performance and other school issues. And so parents have to be mindful of the signs that indicate a need for guidance and support.

While a change in daily routines means it’s almost inevitable that children will have trouble sleeping at the start of the school year, the problem occurs when the issue persists. These symptoms include continued sleep deprivation, decreased appetite or irritability. In other cases, they may come as tears, tantrums or even refusing to go to school. And here is where parents have the responsibility to discuss it with the school or seek professional help.

It’s very important to try to understand the causes of such disturbed behaviour and try to address them from their roots. Experts say that the attitude of parents has a strong influence on how children view the beginning of school because children can pick up how they feel and react to it. The best way to approach it is to acknowledge their anxieties and fears but also assure them that this is normal and that they will be fine.

It’s also important to establish daily routines at home at the start of the new school year, and possibly involve fun activities to ease stress. This also helps in improving their performance in school since pupils’ overall well-being improves when they feel they are supported, even if that meant just a parent’s simple presence, asking them about their day in school, or a little time spent with them during meals, homework or bedtime reading. Most especially at this time of year, our children need our support.