Cambridge parents Tarsha and Matt Makgill are excited about the district’s move to Alert Level 2 this week, which has come just as cabin fever was beginning to set in at their home.
The couple have spent three weeks in lockdown with their children Georgia (eight), Josiah (six) and Zoe (three), who return to school and kindergarten today.
“I would say in general the kids have been excellent, especially Georgia and Josiah, because they’re that little bit older and they remember lockdown from last year,” Tarsha said.
“But, having said that, it’s definitely got to the point now where they’re probably ready to go and play with some other friends and they’ve just about had enough of each other.”
She felt the move would make the biggest difference to Zoe, who didn’t remember lockdown from last year and “didn’t really understand it”.
“You can tell she’s found it all a bit more confusing and upsetting than the others,” Tarsha said.
The couple has been using strategies from Sue Lyon – who runs the Being My Best resilience programme in a number of Waipa primary schools – to help their children cope with Covid upheaval. They will continue to do this as their family navigates a return to a more normal way of life.
Strategies that had helped so far included sticking to usual routines as much as possible and talking to the children about their feelings.
“We’ve also put up a sticker chart to encourage the kids to just walk away if they’re feeling frustrated or starting to get annoyed with their siblings,” Tarsha said.
Sue Lyon said some children might find it difficult going back to school.
She encourages parents to talk to their children about it.
“Communication is the key,” she said.
“Ask your child how they feel about going back to school. Listen to understand how they are feeling and acknowledge it’s okay to feel that way. Get your child to focus on the positive things about going back to school, like the children they’ll be able to play with and being with their teacher. If necessary, email your child’s teacher or talk to them to make them aware of how your child is feeling and what support they may need.”