Experts in the field of child development assert that the social interactions that take place on-site in a school setting teach kids different but important skills when compared with the academic skills they acquire. Being onsite and socialising with peers allows students to learn and develop their social skills.  As students begin to return to school the possibility of a socialisation gap may occur. Some students may transition with ease while others may need extra support. This is a normal and a natural response to the effects of extended lockdowns and remote learning.

Collectively, what can we do to help bridge the gap? This is a very important question to ponder upon.

Here are 5 tips to bridge the gap:

1. Parents, teachers, and the community can actually take part in supporting young people in bridging the gap. It has been suggested by child development experts that the most important initial step is for parents not to stress about their child/child missing anything.

2. Time and time again, students have demonstrated that they tend to be the most resilient and adaptable among us all. Taking that pressure off from academic education and focusing on mental health and wellbeing during this key transition phase could potentially be very helpful.

3. Young people also have a lot to benefit from all their interactions with a family member and their household pets. Meeting at the park or outdoor setting in a safe manner can support young people to develop their social and emotional skills.

4. Psychologists and counselors have also recommended that parents pay attention to their own anxieties and stress levels. Taking the regular self-care they need to regulate their own emotions can support their child/ren in feeling safe and calm. As the old adage goes, the oxygen mask always goes on us first before we help others. A dysregulated adult cannot help regulate a dysregulated child. We are all human beings and from time to time we need to stop, pause and regulate ourselves before we can attend to others. This is a great way to role model to young people that we can be responsible for ourselves.

5.  Regular check-ins with our child/ren and students can be a great way to support them. Doing this before issues begin to escalate and become larger and more challenging to tackle is highly beneficial. This could be done in creative and fun ways to encourage students to express themselves.

If you have any ideas or have found strategies that have worked for your children and/or students we would love to hear from you. Please leave us your thoughts and comments.