It’s very normal for us as parents to feel anxious about getting back into school routines, as well as trying to appear confident and reassuring to front of our children. This has been (and continues to be) a stressful way of existing and adapting and we all need to acknowledge the daily strain this puts on families and schools.
Here are some suggestions that will help your child be emotionally ready to make a successful and smooth transition back to in person class:
Create a plan: Talk them through getting ready to have fun learning Mandarin in class again as well as reflecting upon how well they have been learning at home. Even if they feel they have not achieved a lot, emphasise the positive!
Your child might be anxious about mixing with others in group activities. Reassure them and aim to avoid the use of words and phrases that are negative : ‘Don’t hug the other children!’ ‘ Be careful all the time!’ Focus on what to do, not on what not to do. Practise respecting space: ‘We all need our own little safety bubble’.
It’s important to remember that their Mandarin teachers are making decisions with the primary aim of keeping everyone safe. The way that they organise classes may seem too strict for some and not strict enough for others: It’s not possible to get it 100% right for everyone. As you talk to your friends and, especially, children, please try to be gracious to those who have the incredibly complex task of keeping your kids safe and engaged in fun learning activities. We are being handed a brilliant opportunity as parents to practice the kinds of values we talk about, so why not make the most of that?
Be prepared for an adjustment period as your child may be more tired from being back in school. Their behaviour at home might get a little over-emotional or they may react in other ways that express underlying anxiety.
Parents who are able to pivot and adapt to a changing environment are going to be more resilient, so do your kids (and their teachers) a huge favour by taking care of yourself as a parent as best as you are able.