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Student Wellbeing

Ms Dounia Souki
Student Counsellor

Most of us, and especially children, appreciate some level of predictability in our lives. We have not had a more unpredictable last couple of years that’s for sure. Aside from all the changes associated with COVID, the students at Primary Campus faced a myriad of other changes. Preps starting school, a new campus for all, new teachers and classmates to name but a few.

Changes whether big (new school, new sibling or new routines) or small (new breakfast foods or new shoes) are inevitable it is important that children develop the skills and resilience to be able to cope with changes in life.

Parents can help students better cope with change by implementing some creative strategies. Be mindful that your child may present differently when struggling to adjust to changes. You may notice;

  • More problematic behaviours – tantrums, resistance and clinginess
  • Shift in emotions – increased anxiety, worry or moodiness
  • Different Eating and Sleeping Patterns – eat less or struggle to fall asleep/ or difficulty getting up
  • Expressing negative thoughts or worries – expressing their dislike for school/ teachers or other students
  • Complain of stomach aches- Physical symptoms of anxiety or worry

Having the right strategies in place can reduce your child’s stress and teach them how to thrive when change happens.

Foster Familiarity- It's important to help your child feel more comfortable, the more they are familiar with the change occurring the more they are going to feel prepared for change.

Answer questions- Children often have many questions and may ask the same question repeatedly. This is one-way children gain mastery over a situation and build resilience. Keep answers simple, age-appropriate and positive. Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question.

Expect some regression- During times of change, children may regress to earlier behaviors. For example, a child who was toilet trained may revert back to having accidents. This is normal.

Be Positive: Listen, don't be too quick to distract, acknowledge emotions, and remind them of all the positives.

Assure Them They Aren't Alone: Remind your kids that they're not the only ones who may be experiencing change. Reassure them too, that the teacher knows that they are experiencing changes, and will probably spend time helping students feel more comfortable as they settle into the classroom.

Read children’s picture books- Reading books together is one way to restore a sense of connection, safety, and peace. Read books that relate to your specific situation. Look for books with adult and child characters who work together to overcome difficult things.

Play together- Play is one of the best ways for children to work through stress and change. Head outside for a game of tag or gather some leaves. Make cookies, play a board game or engage in pretend play. Play is good for both children and adults!

Know When to Get Outside Help- You know your child best. If you sense that their back-to-school anxiety may be rooted in something more serious, such as an anxiety disorder or a problem with a bully, talk with your child, your child's teacher, and the school counsellor.

And remember, you need to take care of yourselves as well. Back-to-school time can be just as hectic and stressful for parents. Remind yourself that any anxiety or stress you or your child may be feeling is usually temporary.

Ms Dounia Souki

Student Counsellor