This fall back to school has been very challenging for our children, whether they went back to an in-school model, a hybrid model or are learning at home online.
There was a lot of uncertainty and confusion about how school was going to be delivered and whether or not it would be safe enough to attend in person. Parents and students were all feeling very stressed, but now that we are back into a new routine here are a few ideas to help prepare your child for any potential new changes, and start to adjust to their new reality.
Help your child understand that because we cannot predict how Covid-19 will progress in the community, we may have to change our schooling a few times this year. While we may be able to attend school in person, it’s possible we may also need to attend again at home online.
Help your child see the positives in this, which are that we are going to be safe and that it’s temporary. Listen to them if they feel upset about missing friends or falling behind in some work and re-assure them that these things will get easier with time.
Changing circumstances and at home-schooling can be stressful for kids, who thrive in a routine. It’s a good idea to dedicate a certain room, or space in your home for your child to relax and de-stress in. Treat them to a new prayer mat in their favourite colours or design to help them form a more positive association with prayer time, and see it as a fun break from schoolwork.
After School Melt-downs
Schools are doing their best to ensure that students keep some social distance and wear masks as a safety precaution. However, it's all still new and can be challenging for kids, particularly younger ones, so remember to check in with your child to see how they are managing with their new classroom rules.
You may experience an increase in after school behaviours like tantrums or crying, whining and clinginess as each child has their own way of coping with the lack of movement and the increased number of rules at school. Build in some time after school for this transition in a relaxed way where you are not rushing to another activity or your evening routine of supper, homework, bath and bed.
Being physically active is also important for overall mindset, and it's a good idea to get some outdoor time where possible. Go for a walk together, play at the park on the way home or even just cuddling up and relaxing on the couch together can help your child feel re-connected and centred again.
Students are working online this fall from kindergarten right up to university, and online fatigue can be a real issue.
Prayer time is a very effective way for kids to step away from their screens, but it’s not always easy to persuade them! One way to help engage your kids better in prayer time is to set a prayer schedule together. You can use a visual schedule, with images depicting what the events are during the day.
Some families draw images together and use magnets to arrange them on the fridge, making it more of an inclusive, interactive activity that kids can look forward to as part of their daily routine. If they still put up some resistance, why not let your child pick out a new prayer mat to build encouragement? Our 'In Love with Prayer' purple mat for example can get even the most resistant child invested in their salah prayer, or you can treat soccer-mad kids to 'The Ultimate Goal' mat.
Lack of Social Interactions
Whether students are attending in class or online, many are experiencing a reduction in their social circle and friends are certainly such an important part of a child’s mental health.
If you're unable to venture outside, one way to incorporate indoor play time with prayer time is to encourage younger children to incorporate prayer into art projects, where they can draw prayer mats, sew or decorate hijabs and kufis.
Kids can also dress up and act out prayers as part of their creative and dramatic play, like “playing house” or “playing mosque”. It helps them to feel that prayer is a natural part of their life, and something special for them as Muslims.
Adjusting to changes about school can be made easier by creating some routines that are comforting for our children.
This is a great chance to establish some more consistent prayer time, and to really focus on duas to highlight our gratitude and thankfulness. We can choose to focus on how well our children are adjusting, all the blessings we are experiencing in small ways and we can ask Allah for continued support and guidance as we keep moving forward.
Navigating daily school life in a new reality is challenging for both parents and their children, but the consistency of prayer time and Islamic routines can help our children to feel more engaged, and with a greater sense of purpose during this difficult time.
Check out our prayer mats to help you and your kids fall in love with prayer.