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It’s the last few days of school holidays… so, have you decided whether you will send your kids back to school or keep them at home? It seems like this is such a big, overwhelming decision to make.

So we called in our resident parenting expert, Graham Irvine head of Christian education at Kingsway Christian College, to give us some advice in preparing to go back to school in term 2.

Graham has recently read an article by Professor John Hattie a researcher of New Zealand and Australian education. Hattie did some research into the students that were affected by the Christchurch earthquake that happened in 2011.

There were many schools in the Christchurch area that were closed for a whole term. Not only did they close, but this wasn’t a situation where students could just jump online and continue their studies. So many students were without school for the whole term. What was interesting in the results was that once they returned to school, their education had not suffered at all and by the time they got to the end of the year, their end of year results had actually improved since before the earthquake.

“I hope this article encourages parents not to panic!” Graham says. “Whatever you decide to do, is ok.”

This is a really great example to show that students will make it through. Their whole world isn’t going to come crashing down because they miss a few weeks of formal schooling.

How can we as parents prepare our kids for what’s going to happen?

Parents need to make a decision.

The sooner they do that, either way, that tends to reduce the stress for everyone.

Communicate with your kids.

Give them enough information so that they know what’s going on and then wait for them to ask questions if they want.

“One of the things that’s worried me over the last few weeks is the overwhelming amount of information that everyone is being saturated with. A few times I’ve made a comment to parents to say, ‘look, your children don’t need all the information about everything that’s going on in the world’. We can’t change what’s going on, it doesn’t help young children to tell them everything.

Be enthusiastic about whatever you decided

Children want to know, or have a sense at least, that their parents know what they’re doing. That’s what keeps stability¬† for children when they can see confidence in their parents when they say “this is what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.”

Have a listen to the conversation between Graham Irvine and Mike on The Brekky Show below:

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