Back to School panel highlights shopping as key motivator for children starting new school year
How can parents and children better equip themselves to start off the new school year successfully? This was one of the key questions addressed by Dubai-based Waheeba Esri, parenting and lifestyle influencer, Edwina Viel, social media influencer and the blogger behind Seashells on the Palm, Mini Menon, author and teacher, and Pashmi Khare, UAE-licensed counselling psychologist, at Centrepoint’s Back to School panel.
Hosted at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates on Monday (14 August), the panel discussion, moderated by Dubai-based news anchor and lifestyle blogger Laura Buckwell, drew the participation of over 30 mothers. Speakers debated solutions to a range of issues including changes in a child’s schedule and routine, unsociable behaviour at school, and the ‘sibling challenge’.
The panellists found that back-to-school shopping is a huge motivator for children before the start of the school year. When allowed to choose their own school accessories featuring, for example, their favourite superheroes, the little ones often experience a previously unimagined sense of excitement about going back to school.
Speaking on the significance of smooth transitions at the start of the academic year, Esri said: “It’s important to plan strategically through talking to your children before the school year starts. A good tactic is to let them know that they will make new friends – this is one of the most reassuring things a child can hear. In addition, encourage greater independence through decision-making during the summer holidays – this will help your children cope better when they’re at school.”
Explaining how instilling the right values in children can influence their behaviour at school, Viel said: “A child’s behaviour is often the single most important thing, and it is determined by the values that we as parents encourage. If we inculcate the right principles in children before they get to school, we can be confident that they will quickly learn how to create their own boundaries in ways that are firm yet not aggressive.”
Meanwhile, Menon shared a teacher’s perspective on motivating children to go to school. She said: “Positive talk around the school experience is extremely beneficial to a child. If a parent is stressed out, a youngster is likely to pick up on this. Reminiscing fondly about your own school years can motivate your offspring to go back to school in a happier frame of mind.”
Sharing her thoughts on sibling relations, Khare said: “It’s important to let siblings depend on each other. A good strategy is to encourage older children to coach their little brothers or sisters. For example, having them demonstrate how to brush their teeth or pack their bag could be useful. This also allows both children to bond whilst making good memories.”
Simon Cooper, Head of Centrepoint, said: “Centrepoint’s commitment to its customers extends far beyond offering an exceptional shopping experience. This year, we decided to mark our Back to School collection launch by hosting our very first panel discussion to help address various challenges parents and children face during the back-to-school season. The talk aimed to create a positive impact amongst our audience through providing credible and useful advice that can help make informed parenting decisions. We are pleased to have hosted this informative get-together for parents and their little ones, and hope to continue this endeavour for years to come.”
The educational event was supported by MMagazine, the Mother Baby Club, Malaak Mama & Baby Care and Fairytales.