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How to help a child adapt at school

Ministry of Health recommendations for first/new class, offline format, after returning from abroad.

The new school year has started. Some of the children started first grade, some moved to a new school, some came home from abroad, many will have to get used to offline learning again. And all of them need time and effort to get involved in the school regime.

We have collected advice for parents from family and child psychologist Svitlana Roiz to facilitate the child's preparation for school.


Gradually return the children to work mode - every day start waking up the schoolchild 10-15 minutes earlier until you reach the desired wake-up time.


Conduct an audit of clothing and footwear. Discuss with your child what she would like to wear to school. Arrange and hang school clothes in the closet (it is possible in sets) - in addition to the emotional component of setting up for the school year, this will also save time for morning meetings.


Offer the child to sort through the stationery, clean the table, spread out the pens and notebooks, put on the lamp. This gives an opportunity to feel the place "yours" and start getting used to the work process. For toddlers, it is important that, sitting at the table, they can touch the floor or stand with their feet, and that there are no toys in the field of vision.


Think about what, in addition to stationery and textbooks, a student should have with him in his briefcase every day. Unfortunately, air alarms still sound in Ukraine, so you may still need things from the security bag: a piece of paper with the contacts of loved ones, the necessary medicines (if the child has to take them every day), a small soothing thing (toy, pacifier, bracelet), a small flashlight etc.

Most of these tips apply to junior high school students who are going to school for the first time or moving to a new school.


Find out which toilet is in the school, and if necessary, teach them how to use it. It is important to help first-timers learn self-care skills: how to go to the toilet and change clothes.


Remember or learn the way to school, draw/print a map, walk this way with your child several times.


Agree with the child what you will have for breakfast, what you will put in the lunchbox with you. Practice opening and closing the lunch box and water bottle at home so that you are sure that the child can do it. With small children, you can play a school snack at home - take food out of the lunch box, use napkins, put the leftovers back so that they do not fall apart in the backpack.


If the class is inclusive, tell the child how to correctly treat classmates with disabilities or developmental difficulties, explain that all people are different and that "different" does not mean "bad". Talk to your child about bullying and explain that if it happens around them or about them, it is important to tell parents and other adults about it.


The first of September this year falls on a Friday, so immediately after it - the first weekend of autumn - you can celebrate the transition from summer vacation to working autumn. It can be a meeting with friends in nature or a festive table in the circle of the family, visiting an entertainment center or a bike ride. The format of the holiday can be any, the main thing is to understand that extracurricular life does not disappear with the start of studies.

Returning from abroad to a Ukrainian school: how to deal with problems

If during the past year the child was abroad and studied at a school there, it may be difficult for him to adapt to the realities upon returning to a Ukrainian educational institution.

1. The sound of sirens can frighten a child, it can be scary and unusual in bomb shelters at school.

To make it easier for the child to get used to air alarms, it is worth talking about what to do during them, as well as download the application and listen to the sound of the siren in advance (how to prepare yourself and the child for the return, read in the article).

How long a child will get used to new dangerous realities depends mostly on his temperament. If she already knows what to do and where to run when she's anxious, tell her that it's normal to be afraid and teach her techniques to deal with a panic attack. If you cannot solve the problem yourself, contact your family doctor or pediatrician so that he can refer you to a psychologist.

2. During your stay abroad, contacts with classmates may have weakened, and it may be difficult to build friendships anew. So a schoolchild can feel lonely, become more closed, less communicative.

If a child complains of loneliness, of being forgotten by his classmates, it will be very important to enlist the help of teachers. They can prepare other students so that a child who has returned from abroad will be warmly welcomed in the classroom. Here, a psychologist can also help, for example, to conduct training sessions to bring the class together. And, of course, parents can also help the child organize a meeting with old friends, with one or more classmates on the eve of the school year.

3. Delay in education.

For those who are not going to school for the first time, it is important to remember that in the summer there is a "rollback" in knowledge. The usual "summer setback" was joined by stress from the war - and this worsens memory. In addition, the online format can be a sign (if the child did "attend" a Ukrainian school online while being outside of Ukraine) and differences in training programs - this can affect the level of knowledge. So treat your student's results with understanding and patience, give the child time to adapt.

Gradually, she will make up for everything that is needed.

Before thinking about tutors, you should just give the student time to adapt. There is no need to overload the child, it is better to pay attention to quality sleep and daily routine. This will facilitate the adaptation period, and cognitive abilities will recover faster.

4. Manifestations of aggression may appear.

If a schoolboy has become aggressive, it is worth remembering that children of primary school age do not yet know how to manage their feelings, so negative emotions and unsatisfied needs can often find a way out in the form of aggressive actions. Anger often grows out of a sense of danger. It is easier to show anger than to realize fear. It can also be a manifestation of powerlessness, disappointment, and guilt.

Meanwhile, adults can and should help children - teach them to get out of this state in a non-destructive way, safe for both the child and the world around him. For this, you can use games and exercises aimed at calming aggression, which you can find at the link.

Whatever the success, remember that we are all going through difficult trials right now, so the main attention should be paid to closeness and health - both physical and mental. Support the child and help make the school years happy.

Source: Ministry of Health

The material was prepared within the framework of the implementation of the All-Ukrainian mental health program How are you? on the initiative of Olena Zelenska.

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