Tips to help Your Children Back to School
The return to school on Monday 8th March will be quite daunting for many young people. After weeks away from their regular place of learning they will naturally wonder what school will be like when they step through the gates. Some children cannot wait to return while others may feel nervous. As a parent you will be aware of most of the concerns that your son/ daughter may have on their first day and while you may have addressed those concerns at home, you will naturally worry about your child on that first morning too!
So what can you do to make the transition from home to school a little easier ……..
- Before your child returns to school it might help to talk about activities he/she enjoys doing there e.g. a subject he/she really loves or the chance to see friends again which will help shift the focus of any anxiety. Maybe look at the school website together to familiarise him/her with school again. Be aware of any concerns that come from the conversation and if those concerns are not resolved after attending school then contact the school to speak to the relevant staff member/ SENCO who will be able to help your child.
- Ensure that your son/ daughter is prepared for that first day. Make sure their bag is packed with the correct equipment, their mask if necessary and that their uniform is ready. It’s the simple things that will make the difference e.g. have you checked their shoes still fit them or their trousers are long enough after weeks of not wearing them? Just make sure your child is in a good place on that first morning.
- Start easing into a new routine for the family. Try to reduce screen time over the weekend and get some earlier nights if you can. On the day, set the alarm early enough, ensure breakfast is ready, money/card for lunch is topped up and leave enough time to get to school so there is no panic.
- The school will have done everything to make sure it is a safe comfortable place for learning but remind your child about social distancing and following the rules however much they may wish to see friends that might not be in their same school bubble.
- Reassure your son/ daughter that if they have not managed to keep up with all their schoolwork the school will be prepared for this and will be able to support them to catch up missed learning. The most important fact on the first few days is to get into the routine and be there!
- Older children who will be undergoing lateral flow testing may be anxious about the procedure if they’ve not yet taken a Covid test. Again, try to reassure them that it is painless and that there will be teachers and other volunteers there to help.
- Make time to listen to your children at the end of each day and allow them time to express their feelings without jumping in immediately with a solution. It’s often most beneficial for children just to be able to vent.
It can take time to adjust to being back at school. You may find your child is more tired and may need a schedule to help establish a routine for homework. Try to encourage your child to adapt their sleep pattern over the next couple of days so that the early mornings will not be so much of a struggle – and don’t forget to do the same yourself! Whatever strategies you have as a family to cope with your child’s return to school please remember to be kind to each other as it will be difficult for you all. It’s been a tough, few months for everyone so expect there to be an ongoing period of adjustment.
Many thanks to Lindsey Abbott, a retired secondary school head teacher and mum to two children, aunt to four nieces.
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