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A principal warns parents of what to expect from their kids in coming weeks

‘You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums and behaviour issues’: School principal warns parents of what to expect from their children in coming weeks – and reveals what’s ‘normal’

  • A principal wrote a letter to parents warning them of child behavioural changes 
  • The changes come after a dramatic global increase in coronavirus cases 
  • The letter outlines how to teach kids at home if their school has chosen to shut 
  • It also encourages comforting children and prioritising their mental health 
  • A Sydney mum shared the letter to Australian Facebook group Five Minute Mum
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

An Australian school principal has written a letter cautioning parents of the behavioural changes or issues they may notice from their kids due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A woman from Sydney shared the anonymous letter to the Facebook group Five Minute Mum, where others were comforted by the supportive and informative words. 

‘Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behaviour issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally – it will happen,’ the principal wrote in the letter.

‘You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances’.  

While many schools around Australia currently remain open, others both nationally and internationally have chosen or have been forced to close, leading to further behavioural issues to arise among children. 

A school principal has written a letter cautioning parents of the behavioural changes or issues they may notice from their kids due to the coronavirus pandemic

A school principal has written a letter cautioning parents of the behavioural changes or issues they may notice from their kids due to the coronavirus pandemic

The principal wrote how children are ‘just as scared’ as parents about the current global crisis, ultimately leading to a possible increase in stress, paranoia or loneliness. 

‘Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety,’ the letter read.

‘They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends’.

The principal outlined how children are 'just as scared' as parents about the current global crisis, ultimately leading to a possible increase in stress or paranoia

The principal outlined how children are ‘just as scared’ as parents about the current global crisis, ultimately leading to a possible increase in stress or paranoia

The school principal’s full letter to parents  

Dear parents with school aged children

You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing…

Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.

Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behavior issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally – it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.

What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.

Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be ok. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do math. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.

If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.

The letter outlined the importance of comforting children during this time, ensuring them everything is ‘going to be okay’ and to ‘tear up’ home schedules to make time for other activities.

The school principal strongly encouraged playing games, baking, painting, snuggling under a blanket to watch movies or completing science experiments together.

The letter also explained parents should avoid yelling at their children if they resist completing school tasks at home after long periods of time.

‘Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be okay,’

‘Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do maths. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate two hours of learning time if they are resisting it.’

The letter concluded with perhaps the most significant advice of prioritising the child’s mental health over their academic skills, which the principal said should be kept in mind ‘every single day’.   

What behavioural changes should parents expect from their children?

An increase in stress, worry and anxiety leading to more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behaviour

Resistance to start or complete school-related activities 

An increase in feeling lonely or sad 

Source: Five Minute Mum 

What should parents do to assist their children and help their mental health?

Comfort and play with them more than usual 

Assure everything is going to be okay 

Bake, paint, play outside, complete puzzles or do science experiments together at home 

Source: Five Minute Mum  

The letter concluded with perhaps the most significant advice of prioritising the child's mental health over their academic skills, which the principal said should be kept in mind 'every single day'

The letter concluded with perhaps the most significant advice of prioritising the child’s mental health over their academic skills, which the principal said should be kept in mind ‘every single day’

The letter has since been shared to other mum and parental groups on Facebook to spread the advice further across Australia and the world. 

‘As a homeschooler I must say please don’t try to copy the public school regimen, it’s designed to control a large group of kids. It simply doesn’t work at home,’ one mum said online.

‘Routine and learning is good, but also an opportunity for some special quality time as a family,’ another wrote.

A third said: ‘My kids are super excited to stay home until I made up a lesson plan now they know this isn’t a holiday’.  

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Written by Angle News

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