As Auckland children return to school post lockdown information about how to reassure any child feeling a bit anxious can now be found on the KidsHealth website at https://kidshealth.org.nz/supporting-children-returning-school-delta-2021
There are two new resources, one for children up to year 8 and one for year 9 and above, written by registered psychologist Mel Churton, who has over 30 years’ experience teaching, coaching, and supporting children, parents and families.
The booklets cover what will be different at school returning from lockdown, what will be the same, the importance of masks, coping with change, and where to go for help. There’s also a section for parents and caregivers, and another section for teachers.
Starship community paediatrician Dr. Alison Leversha says, “Parents will find the booklets useful for generating discussion with their children, especially if the child is feeling anxious about going back to school.”
“They are written in an easy to understand style and at a good level for children. Many teachers across the region will be reading these stories to children in class as they start back at school this week. I encourage parents to read them with their children.
“Children pick up anxiety from adults around them. Calm steady reassurance from parents and teachers will go a long way to ensuring a smooth road back to face-to-face learning.”
Dr Leversha says, “There are some new things in schools due to COVID, but, there are also many things that are just the same. Parents and children should think of it as going back to school after a longer summer break, something school kids do every year, but with more layers of protection. Schools are so much more than education to our children. They are fundamental to children’s wellbeing and development.
“A group of health and education professionals are meeting weekly to ensure children can safely return to school, and that parents and teachers are supported to address any concerns about learning or behaviour. We are also tracking any cases that arise in schools, so we can be clear whether they have arisen from the community around the school, which is expected, or, whether they have arisen from child-to-child transmission within the school. This is much less likely,” she said.
For further information or interviews please contact Ally Clelland, Communications Manager, Paediatric Society NZ, 022 044 2161.