Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2016 Contents A24
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, January 6, 2016
When I read the back-to-school advice given by
a few websites, I realised how little I knew then
and how much I still do not know about prepping
a child for re-entry into the school environment
after the holidays. I was also left wondering how
many parents think it is necessary to strategise in
order to maintain emotional balance in their chil-
dren’s life after the frenzied vacation.
Compared to the holiday’s fun and laughter, gifts,
shopping, overeating, and every kind of over indul-
gence in which we are immersed, school must be a
drag for many of our returning children and ado-
lescents. The more resilient youngsters may be better
at adjusting but for the most part I think many chil-
dren need help readapting.
In fact, I propose that even parents require help
and may very well do their adjusting without much
consideration for the child or children’s need. The
Christmas holidays are so frenetic and undisciplined
I’m certain that we do not come out unscathed.
Many emotional changes occur and not all are good
How we, as parents and also teachers, reconcile
the emotional welfare of our charges with the also
emotional plunge back into the more disciplined
learning environment depend on how conscious we
are of the vagaries.
Children are generally not as expressive as we
wished they’d be so, mostly, it’s the observed behaviour
that gives clues to their wellbeing. Some may be
immediately happy at returning to their friends and
to the classroom but they may be doing so with
hidden trauma and, after the dust settles, the tell-
tale signs may appear, so we must remain alert.
ReachOut USA says, “Going back to school after
break, like over summer or the holidays, can be hard.
You might be sad that the days of sleeping in and
having extra time on your hands are over until the
next break. Or alternatively, you might be really
excited to get back to school, catch up with all your
friends and start your new classes.
On how one can be affected by going back to
school, ReachOut says at the beginning it’s not
uncommon to feel stressed or anxious, excited to see
friends again, sad or down that break is over, pressure
or expectations, from yourself or others, to perform
well in school and concerned about your course load.
I recall that for me, waking up early was a real
problem after the holidays. Coming to think of it,
waking up early was my forever issue while in school
and for a few years in the world of work, too. There
was no mental preparation. My mother said wake
up, get dressed and go to school and that was the
general direction I got. Then there was a whole lot
of quarrelling about the fact that I was so slow I
would miss my own funeral, and how they’d have
to beg or bribe St Peter because I was going to be
too late to meet heaven’s gate open.
Little Heroes says, “Try not to make assumptions
about how your (children) feel about going back to
school. After a few weeks at home, they could be
thrilled to be getting back to school so that they can
hang out with their friends, or get back to an exciting
“On the other hand, they may be dreading going
back because a school bully is waiting for them or
they are terrified about getting a poor test result.
The most important thing you can do is to get a
conversation started so you can find out how your
child feels about returning to school life” (www.lit-
The Web site www.mentalhelp.net says that in
terms of children and school, it’s important that the
entire family be prepared for the return to the school
aids emotional balance
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
schedule. Overall, communication, planning,
and alertness seemed to be the top measures
in the advice to parents for a successful re-
entry to school and the school routine for our
Caroline C Ravello is a strategic communications
and media practitioner with over 30 years of proficiency.
She holds an MA in Mass Communications and is pur-
suing the MSc in Public Health from the UWI. She has
been living/thriving with mental health issues for over
35 years. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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