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The New Challenge Facing Kiwi Parents – And How To Get Through It

With teachers and students returning to classrooms, parents are faced with a new challenge – supporting their children transition back to school.

Having been in isolation at home for the last two months, children and teens of all ages will be experiencing a range of emotions as the country enters alert Level 2.

For some, the move back to school will be welcomed, reuniting them with friends, teachers and play. For others, the return to school will spark anxiety or fear.

Sparklers advisor Anna Mowat says there are some simple things parents can do to help make the transition easier – including focusing on how we can help others.

“Kindness is a genuine antidote to fear and worry. We saw it after the Christchurch earthquakes and again with the huge outpouring of aroha following the Christchurch mosque attacks.”

“When we focus on worry and fear, the focus is on ourselves. But when we shift our focus to kindness, it externalises our thinking to others and we begin noticing how we’re similar, how we need to look out for each other and ourselves. Ultimately, it lifts our wellbeing.”

Anna says it’s also a good time to reflect on the lockdown experience and remind yourself that big emotions are normal after such a challenging time.

“There are just days until school goes back and it’s a great opportunity to encourage your child to reflect on their experience. What things have they enjoyed about it and what are they most looking forward to about getting back to school? Reflecting on how we felt and will feel helps us process our emotions and better move on.”

For those worrying about academic results for tamariki who have missed out on schooling, Anna has this message.

“In the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes student achievement actually increased, and that was in a period where there wasn’t access to e-learning – there wasn’t even wifi a lot of the time. Not only did Canterbury tamariki do just as well academically, many have become more resilient, maybe more community minded and also more aware of what they need to do to look after their wellbeing.

“I have no doubt that our young people will learn a lot from the last six weeks, and become better people because of it. Parents need to congratulate themselves too … home learning has been hard, and challenging, but we’ve got through. Know that no matter what you think you have or have not achieved, it’s all right and our children and teens will be all right.”

Sparklers started out as a resource for schools in post-quake Canterbury and is now used by teachers all over New Zealand. Sparklers is part of the All Right? wellbeing campaign. Sparklers at Home has been funded by the Ministry of Health as part of the Getting Through Together mental health and wellbeing package.

© Scoop Media

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