Summer is coming to an end. School is right around the corner, as students will be going back to in-person learning. This past year school has been a challenge for many students as they attended school virtually due to the pandemic. The good news is that schools are doing their best to return to normalcy. Or as close to normal as possible.
While speaking with my teen and younger clients, some expressed they want to remain at home to continue online learning. They feel it is a lot easier. They are less anxious than when they are present in the classroom. Little do they know, this is affecting them in more ways than not. Students are less anxious because they are isolating themselves and do not have to interact and impress others. Their social interaction and structure have diminished some but will be returning this next school season.
A lot of parents are celebrating this news, and they should be. Kids need to be in school. They need structure in their lives. This is the type of structure we went through when we were growing up. We learned many vital lessons because of these interactions in school. The importance of getting to school on time, lining up, holding the door, and following directions are imperative in a child’s life. Let’s not forget how important it is to practice listening, respecting, and obeying teachers and other authority figures. This type of structure and routine is key to our children’s future. One of the most important things kids tend to learn while going to school is socialization skills. Being around others is a crucial part of growing up. School is a great platform for kids to learn to socialize. Being around classmates helps develop friendships and relationships with others. This helps to teach them trust, loyalty, and how to be cooperative.
Let’s face it, going to school in person is how children and teens learn the most basic social and academic skills. Even though I’ve had some of my younger clients report their interest in remaining at home, most want to return to school. They see the importance of not being isolated in their rooms, and instead spending time with others.
I can think of three reasons that benefit our kids being around others and how schools are a great platform for this interactive environment.
- Mental Health: Being around others and being social can improve our mental health. Something as simple as sitting at a Starbucks and being around other people makes us feel better mentally. We may feel like we are actually getting something done. That we are interacting with other individuals. At school, children experience a social interaction that could improve their mental health since they are around others and can communicate with other children their age who have similar interests.
- Self-Esteem and Confidence: This one is a little tricky because going to school can lower their self-esteem due to academic abilities for some. But the benefits of going to school outweigh the negatives. Spending time with others our own age makes us feel better about ourselves. Kids being with their classmates can help them feel that sense of belonging, which increases their confidence.
- Promotes purpose: The simple act of going to school makes kids feel useful and makes them realize there is a purpose for learning different things. When kids have something to do, like going to school, it keeps them active versus isolating themselves at home. It improves their mood and helps them enjoy an active life, which helps improve their mental health.
As parents, we worry how this coming school year will affect our kids socially and academically. You must remember that teachers have also been experiencing all these feelings throughout the pandemic. They are aware that students will come to school more anxious. They may lack some skills due to online learning. Once school begins, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher and express any concerns you may have. Also, offer your support. Parents and teachers must work together as a team to make this year a successful one for our children.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!” ― Dr. Seuss