Classroom Confident: Rebuilding structure into your child’s life as school begins

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:07 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Often, children lose a sense of structure during the summertime. Meals might be odd hours, playtime is anytime, and who’s even heard of homework?

But the time has come to return to the classroom, which means structure will have to be rebuilt into students’ lives.

Kay Wijekumar, a professor at the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development, joined Brazos Valley This Morning to shed some light on the topic for parents.

The pandemic has probably exacerbated the situation by a lack of socialization, social emotional learning,” said Wijekumar. “The good news is that children are very resilient and can carefully recoup the losses--and come back stronger because they learn the coping strategies for many of these new challenges that they’ve faced throughout the last year.”

Wijekumar suggests the following methods for rebuilding structure into children’s lives:

  • Set up a schedule (homework time, quiet time, no-tech time, sleep time)
  • Have a conversation about what the child can expect at school
  • Create a safe environment for children to talk about their concerns. (Have little ones draw pictures, if that works better.)
  • Discuss the pros and the cons and the approaches that you take to mitigate some of the challenges.
  • Give them a feeling of confidence in their ability to do well in school.
  • Don’t dwell on negatives. Children tend to listen to what is being said in the household and follow the example.

With older children, parents may experience a different set of difficulties. In addition to the steps above, Wijekumar suggest parents of preteens and teenagers try the following:

  • Prioritize clear and open communication
  • Make sure they have a network of friends and that you know those families. This makes it easier to keep in communication with their peer groups.
  • Encourage them to join academic clubs or pick up creative hobbies.
  • That said, support their homework activities by ensuring they have time and aren’t overwhelmed with extracurriculars.

The full conversation with Wijekumar is in the video player above.

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