Covid 19 coronavirus: How to ease your kids back into school

After eight weeks of pillow forts, pyjama days and daytime movies, going back to school is a shock to the system – for children and parents. The kids are learning to pack a school bag again and the adults are re-learning the art of putting together a daily lunchbox. Everyone is adjusting to the familiar and unmissed madness of the morning rush.

As we’ve heard one billion times now, these are unprecedented times. So take a breath, slow down and give yourself a break. Here are five tips on how to take this one step at a time.

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1. Go easy on yourself

As Tom Papa says, you’re doing great! Mornings when you’re hustling a kid out the door are always busy, rushed and stressful. Saying no to playing with your kid after two months of leisurely mornings sucks, so take it easy on both of you – don’t worry about the toothpaste on their chin or the mismatched socks. It doesn’t matter if the lunchbox is full of packaged food while you get back into the swing of things. Fed and dressed is enough for this week.

2. Don’t project your worries on to them

Feeling anxious? That’s catchy. Negative emotions are just as contagious as positive ones, so if you’re feeling a bit weird about your kid returning to school, keep a lid on it. They may be champing at the bit to see their friends again and there’s no need to dampen that enthusiasm. Children are well attuned to adult emotions, so resolve to keep your anxiety away from them.

If your child is experiencing feelings of worry around being in crowds again – if they seem withdrawn, they’re not sleeping well, if they have physical manifestations such as tummy aches or they’re old enough to express their concerns vocally – talk to them with empathy and honesty. It’s vital to acknowledge that their feelings are valid – this has been one of the strangest times of all of our lives – and that’s discombobulating for the best of us.

3. Ease back into the routine

It’s such a cliche but it’s true. Kids thrive on routine. Structure is safe and reassuring and helps them to understand the boundaries. But routine went out the window at midnight on March 25, when suddenly we were all up in each other’s grills, 24/7. How do you enforce getting dressed when you’re not leaving the house all day? What’s the use of set meal times when you’re staring into the fridge twice an hour?

Now we’re heading out into this new world, routine must return – but slowly. Perhaps this week you focus on getting back to reasonable bedtimes and next week you enforce daily bed-making. There’s no need to rush it.

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Covid 19 Coronavirus: Should Fiji and Vanuatu join NZ’s tourism bubble?

The island groups, largely untouched by covid-19, want and need Kiwis to return, writes Stephanie Holmes

While we’ve been fighting Covid-19 at home in New Zealand, the impact on our own tourism industry has played heavy on our minds. But what about other countries around the world whose economies rely heavily on travel and tourism?

We’ve talked to some industry experts to get an insight into how coronavirus has affected popular destinations for Kiwi tourists. This week, we look at our Pacific Island neighbours, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Fiji

“Tourism is one of the most important economic drivers for Fiji, making up nearly 40 per cent of the nation’s GDP,” says Tourism Fiji CEO Matthew Stoeckel, who also notes an estimated one-third of job opportunities are in some way related to tourism.

In 2019, visitor numbers outstripped population — with more than 894,000 inbound tourists, compared to around 880,000 residents.

Kiwis have always been a huge contributor to the tourism industry, Stoeckel says. “New Zealand makes up 23 per cent of total inbound visitor arrivals.” Last year, Fiji was the third most popular destination in the world for Kiwi travellers, behind only Australia and America.

Thanks to early border closures, Fiji has seen effective containment of the spread of the virus. As at April 30, there were only 18 recorded cases — 12 of which had recovered — and no deaths.

However, international travel restrictions in response to the virus have resulted in essentially a temporary shutdown of the international tourism industry.
Stoeckel says the industry is coming together to focus on the future.

“Fiji is world-renowned for its ‘Bula Spirit’,” he says. “The tourism industry is working together to turn things around wherever they can, including supporting local communities. For example, Ecotrax is using their electric bicycles to deliver essential goods to remote villages and The Pearl Hotel is providing accommodation to essential service workers who need to remain isolated from their family.”

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