Jenny has two children and they are going back to school soon. The kids, Mary is five years old while Mark is seven years old and they are both elementary school students. The children are staying at home for several months now and it started with the onset of the pandemic. For many months, the children have developed more attachment to their mom and to the environment, the home, where they stayed for a longer period of time forgetting about the school, their teacher, classmates, and friends for the moment.
Most of the time the children have the same routine of waking up around 10 a.m., having breakfast, playing together with their mom, as Jenny is a full-time housewife. In the afternoon, after lunch, Jenny sees to it that after they have taken their lunch, they will sit with her and study together in front of the computer.
Jenny makes her children play first and have fun together before they tackle the lessons for the day. She is more serious with them and focused on the lessons at hand. Fun time and study time which become a routine at home make the children accustomed to it. Jenny fears that it will be hard to send them to school again.
Like most of the mothers who have children going back to school, Jenny is also worried about how she will make her children go back to school smoothly without tantrums and hard feelings for both of them. School children who stayed at home during the pandemic have developed some kind of attachment to their parents and vice versa.
“Child attachment is characterized by dynamic patterns of behaviors reinforced by proximity to the parent or main caregiver. Parents’ behaviors, too, are reinforced by proximity to their children, and parents may become “attached” to them. Thus, behavioral systems are bidirectional and reciprocal.” (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40617-020-00467-2).
With such an intense attachment that developed between parents and children, it seems that it will be hard for the children to leave their homes and go back to school again.
And they may develop separation protests that are manifested by “ whining, crying, throwing tantrums, clinging to the parent when leaving, and refusing to detach.” (taken from a similar source). Thus, parents have to be advised on how they make their children say their goodbyes and leave their parents for school.
There is some advice that parents could think about and follow to be able to cope with these problems. Based on the information I gathered from this source, “ To minimize separation distress, parents could program with teachers controlled visits to the child’s classroom when the child has not recently protested and has remained there for varyingly longer periods. On each of these occasions, after parents drop off the child at school or classroom, the situation would be less stressful if the parent departs from the setting in a straightforward manner and is reassured by school personnel that the situation is under control.
In other words, there should be a kind of collaboration between parents and teachers to minimize if not eliminate these tantrums.
These include whining, and refusing to let go of their parents by short visits during classes by parents themselves. As such, children will see them around while they are engaged in learning with their teachers. This will make the children confident, pacified, and self-assured that everything is fine.
Another piece of advice is that "at the beginning of the separation episode, the classroom teacher in charge should provide reassurance to children that their parents will come back to pick them up at the end of the day." Since children usually listen to their teachers and believe in the most of the time, teachers may help with the separation anxiety by telling children that after school, their parents will return to get them home.
Moreover, teachers and school officials may also contribute to resolving this problem by the following: “new classroom routines and rules during and after the COVID-19 pandemic should be established clearly and discussed ahead of time with parents and their children before they come back to school.” With new school rules and regulations being shared with parents, they will be able to handle eventualities such as children displaying emotional protests through tantrums and other kinds of “separation protests.”
“Some of the preliminary training can occur via virtual technology like Zoom or telehealth techniques showing the new classroom arrangements and rules (e.g., handwashing routines, wearing face covers, physical distancing).”
Other than this advice, there are recommendations for parents in order to make their children go back to school smoothly without the separations and one of them is I think an effective way to do it. “Learn the new rules and routines of the classroom, and plan ahead. Develop a plan for dealing with separation and new classroom routines and rules.
Involve the teacher’s rules and plans in your own planning.
Discuss these with your child ahead of time. As a parent, you could write a description of your strategy for responding to your child’s protests, e-mail it to the teacher, and invite the teacher to give input about how it fits into the classroom setting and how he or she may help you. At a minimum, this will keep the teacher informed of your intentions and concerns."
Having this informative and enlightening advice and recommendation, I am sure that parents like Jenny with their children, will be able to cope with separation anxiety among parents and separation protests among school children. With the smooth return of children to school, it is highly recommended that you avail yourself of a new study desk for your own children from Flexispot. It could be a Modish Standing Desk with a bamboo desktop that is stylish yet nature-inspired. It has awesome features such as height adjustability, child lock, anti-collision, and soft edges that make it the safest to use for all the members of the family. Learn more about this product and have yours today!