At school, a child may be facing pressures, and this certainly affects the parents as well. As a parent, one may be worrying about certain things like their child’s academic performance, mental health, stability and relationships with fellow classmates and teachers
Here are a few topics to discuss with your child, as they head back to school, ensuring a safe and smooth academic year.
Fostering positive friendships: Encourage your child to connect with a school mate he is comfortable with; it can be difficult to open-up in the first few weeks of school, especially for an introverted child. Opening-up at the start of the year will help ease any less positive experiences.
Most successful friendships are based on shared interests; encourage your child to take up hobbies or extracurricular activities he may like, this will help him socialise. Learning how to cope and develop positive friendship skills can help a child stay happy and feel confident.
Looking after your body/own well-being: Many parents speak about good vs. bad touch, however, for a toddler to understand and react instantaneously, is not easy. It is important for you as a parent to break down the signs and prepare your child to be alert at every moment.
- Talk about private body parts early, use the correct terms, and specify those under a bathing suit. Ensure that you mention that it is private and not for anyone else to see or touch
- Explain to them that outside the home, no one can see them without their clothes.
- Tell them that they are not to go anywhere alone with anybody.
- Explain to your child that it is not okay for anyone to take pictures of their private parts.
- Listen to your child the first time they may open-up, it takes courage.
- Communicate with your child to not keep any secrets from you, and that mom and dad are here to help.
- Reinstate and talk to your child about these rules regularly.
Standing up to bullying: Speaking up against your bully makes it known that they are held accountable and it will not be tolerated. Avoid approaching your bully if he/she is part of a larger group of friends and you are alone. Confide in your teachers and take their help, bullying is not accepted at schools, colleges or any other place.
It is okay to be a little confused, anxious or scared: A new academic year can be stressful, and the thought of going to a higher grade can be scary. New subjects, new teachers and new classmates can be a tough and confusing transition to deal with all at once. Tell your child that it is okay to be a little anxious in the beginning and encourage them to face it bravely.
Trust: Trustworthiness is a quality of importance that needs to be imbibed in a child right from his growing years. Encourage your child to build trusting relationships with his friends.
The author is a Consultant Psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund