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Challenges Faced By Parents At The Start of A New Semester

The academic session is soon about to start. What is different from the past two years has been the pandemic. Children have not attended regular school for a long time. In fact, a new paradigm has been created – one where children practically don’t even need to get out of bed to attend school. While this was not the most optimum way of delivering quality education, there was no other way to tackle the challenges of the pandemic. However, after a long two years, the time has come to metaphorically shake off the dust from the school bag, school uniform and shoes and get everything in order, as used to happen in the earlier years.

  Challenges Faced:

i) Firstly, getting the children out of bed, ready, meal and off to catch the school bus within strict timelines will be a challenge. Unlike the previous two years, where log in late by a couple of minutes will not make a difference. Here if one misses the bus, you know the consequences. Either you have to drop him/her to school or he/ she misses school for the day.

ii) Covid anxiety has still not completely gone away. This is more applicable to parents rather than the children, who are not so concerned about the pandemic. Detailed discussions with the school authorities on the prophylactic measures being adopted by the school authorities will go a long way in allaying the apprehensions and fears that the parents may possess.

iii) Stranger anxiety especially among smaller children may exist, something that they may not articulate to the parents. It’s been a fairly long time since the children have left the safe sanctuary of the house. They have been playing outside with their friends, but now they would be going to school and meeting new people, something that they have not been used to for some time.

iv) Limited attention span due to online classes has become one of the negative outcomes of this mode of academic instructions. When the child gets bored, he opens another window and starts browsing or he accesses his phone, in case the classes are being accessed through a laptop. This would have to change, once the child is in a physical class. He will have to be more responsible for his actions, without the fallback support of his parents.

v) Another shift that will take place is that there will not be a parent available to help out in case of classroom work/ assignments. The child will have to figure it all by himself.

Some the measures that the parents can adopt to have a smooth transition to the physical school pattern are as follows: –

i) Put the child into a routine. He / she needs to sleep on time and wake up in a manner that he/ she can get used to the school going pattern. Basically, the circadian rhythm needs to be adjusted.

ii) A round of the school a few days in advance, to familiarize with the layout of the school, the class rooms, meeting the teachers, will help the child in allying his apprehensions/ fears.

iii) Buying new books and uniform (in case the child has outgrown previous ones as he is wont to do) brings in a certain level of excitement for the child. Enthusiastically participate in the process of covering the books and notebooks, and thus build up a tempo and excitement of the new academic session.

iv) For the first few at least, give lunch boxes filled with the child’s favorite food (within the school’s guidelines of the acceptable type of food permitted).

v) Talk to the child. Some of the issues and anxieties will be brought out by the child itself. Discuss with the child and fix his/ her problems.

Overall, the opening of schools will be a blessing for the parents. There will be less ‘Blue screen’ time for the children, they will be out of the house for a number of hours, they will mix with other children and get out of the online cocoon that has been created the past two years, and basically live a healthier and more productive life.

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