School’s in: How make it a less anxious transition
Over a quarter of parents are concerned about separation anxiety as the school year starts, with experts urging they re-establish routine and stability.
It comes as child behaviour problems and emotional distress are up 23 per cent and 70 per cent respectively compared with during the pre-COVID-19 period, according to research commissioned by Triple P parenting program.
The extraordinary stress of 2020 had affected families in different ways, Triple P International country director Carol Markie-Dadds said.
"Our research of parents found that child behaviour problems and emotional distress were up 23 per cent and 70 per cent respectively when compared with the pre-COVID-19 period," she said.
"Free and highly effective help is available now."
Meanwhile, research conducted by Spacetalk found over a quarter of parents were concerned about separation anxiety in 2021.
However over two-thirds said they wanted their child to have the same kind of freedom they did growing up, with two-thirds saying they would give their child more freedom if they could contact them more easily.
Happy Families expert Dr Justin Coulson said this year would be an opportunity to return to normal without home learning.
"Mobile phones can seem like the more immediate option to give your child, with nearly two-thirds admitting they give a phone to their primary-aged kids due to safety," he said.
"But there are other options out there for parents looking for an even safer alternative to keep track of their kids and stay connected without losing them to social media and gaming apps before they're ready."
Gold Coast mother of three Marian Ridderhof said there were always concerns around safety for children, with her eldest using a watch to connect parents and children without the distraction of a mobile phone.
"We've been off school for almost eight weeks," she said.
"So while that can feel long, I know it will make it even harder when they go back, as I'm used to being with them all the time and all of a sudden they will have their own schedules and I worry that they are safe.
"My concern also this year is with my son in pre-Prep… I think there will be a fair few tears from him and I.
"It'll also be quite a quick drop-off because schools want to make sure people aren't around not socially distancing."
NEW YEAR, NEW NORMAL FOR KIDS
Thousands of children will start school today, as teachers and parents hope for a new year untainted by COVID-19.
St Margaret's Anglican Girls School at Ascot in Brisbane has seen a 5 per cent growth across its primary and secondary schools, as almost 60 more students enrolled compared to last year.
Over 25 new preppies will start at the school this year.
Principal Ros Curtis said the year ahead was looking promising with a full calendar of events and activities. The school was looking forward to welcoming returning Year 11 and 12 students from overseas.
"It's always great to start a new school year - I am hoping school goes back to normal as much as possible," she said.
"We're hoping we can have our grandparents' morning and our P-3 fun night … also mother and fathers' lunches.
"From a staff point of view, we've got a number of new staff due to growth since last year ... so looking forward to working with them."
Students who also engaged in the global exchange program - where about 30 per cent would travel to visit a school overseas - will now look at new opportunities in places such as Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Originally published as School's in: How make it a less anxious transition