It’s that time of the year again when many children from across the country start their education journey, as they join schools all over the place that will become their second homes for the next few years. Each year, millions of people return to school for a brand new adventure. That might mean high school, a bachelor’s degree or even early days at elementary school. For anyone who is returning to school in 2021, the options are vast and filled with opportunities. That’s why we created this helpful article that breaks down a few recommendations for parents to consider when their kid is returning to school that consists of personalized tips for parents from our psychotherapist Arkadiy Volkov.
The first thought that crosses most people’s minds when they hear “return to school” is money. Tuition, books and living expenses all add up to a lot of money. But what about the intangible costs? What about the price of your time or personal health? Primarily for post-secondary students, how will you find the time to study while working full-time as a student or take care of your mental well-being? And if you aren’t working, how will you take care of yourself and pay your bills? All too often, people with good intentions answer these questions by saying: “Just do it! A degree is an investment in yourself.” The problem is, having to work full-time while going to school is a lot harder than it sounds, and not every job will allow you to continue your education while paying the bills.
Understanding your kids’ education path can be challenging when they’re young. As parents, all we want is for them to be happy and successful. Although it may be difficult, it’s important to realize that this stage of life is temporary. The humorist Fran Lebowitz said, “When a child says, ‘I’m bored,’ you should not give them more TV, computer or video games. You should simply say, ‘Go outside.'” You may find yourself asking questions like, “are my kids going to go to a four-year college? What are they passionate about? What do they want to do?” These are the same questions young adults are asking themselves when they graduate from high school. However, with their entire lives ahead of them, they have a lot of time to figure it out, and it’s crucial for you, as a parent, to help them understand it.
September is a time of new starts – new classes and a new sense of optimism. If you’ve got a kid in school, then you’ve likely seen that most parents are pretty busy with their own careers. This can make it hard to help your kids with theirs. And as a student, it can be a little intimidating to approach parents for help.
Here are the top four recommendations from our psychotherapist Arkadiy Volkov on how to better assist your kid upon starting the new school year.
Validate the worries
“It’s important for parents to acknowledge that going back to school will probably not be a return to normal, but to some new environment. Which doesn’t mean that it can’t be a great chance to finally get out of the house and to learn and to see their friends in person.
Try to find space and time to connect to your children and allow them to voice their worries.”
Work on social skills together
“It might be a good idea to try to get our children together with their friends as much as they can before school starts in person. This can help them to work their social muscles, communicate and adjust quicker to a setting which could have become quite unfamiliar.”
Establish routine and structure
“Stability can help children feel supported and sage: discuss routines with children and help them to stick to them.
It’s important to remember the role of modelling, so work on keeping the routine together with them!”
Discuss changes and possibilities
“Try to find out in advance what rules will be a place in school and what adjustments will be required so that you can discuss them with your children (e.g., masks, distancing, scheduling changes). Try to address the uncertainty and even admit your own feelings towards it: seeing how you cope with your own anxieties and worries can be a great source of inspiration for your children.”
At the beginning of the new school year, you might feel like you don’t know where to begin. So here we are giving you an opportunity to start somewhere and navigate the parent/child relationship during school. So keep your ear to the ground and keep an eye on what’s going on in your kid’s life.