Following a challenging Spring/Summer, the way our children and us as teachers and parents, have approached their education has changed and adapted. In a post-lockdown world, schools won’t look the same as how our children left them. Our children can expect new social distancing rules, new teachers, or even new friends. These can all be causes of anxiety and worry for children of any age group. So, what can we do to help them return to school successfully? Here are some ideas to use that will help your children feel ready to go back to school.
Start the conversation sooner rather than later
Before they return to school, make time for open conversations about how they are feeling about going back. Not all young people will feel nervous, some may feel excited to start a new year, however, if your child does have worries it’s better to get these addressed sooner rather than later. Give them the space to talk honestly and openly, and make sure to acknowledge their concerns, and offer reassurance. For example, your child is likely to be worried about Covid-19. In that case, it’s a good idea to read up on the communications your academy is sending about the new safety procedures, and have these to hand to reassure them that firstly it’s totally normal to be concerned, but the academy is there for them and wouldn’t put them at risk.
No doubt, your child's sleep routine would have changed during the summer, and that is entirely understandable. With school just around the corner, you may want your child to get back into a healthy, school-ready, sleeping routine. However, we’re sure you’ll agree, this can be a challenge. So, start moving your child's bedtime back towards normality now to give them time to adjust to their new routines.
Be a calming presence
It's natural for all parents to feel somewhat anxious about returning their child to school, even without the pandemic. However, it's important that you remain a calming presence for your child where possible. Kids notice many little clues about how their parents are feeling and often use it to determine how they should be feeling.
Set expectations and explain that there will be new rules
Children mustn't go into school expecting everything to be like pre-lockdown. Explain things will look different, but tell your child not to worry, because the teachers have been thinking very hard about how to make the school safe, and will help them get used to the new routines. Moreover, it can be reassuring to talk about the things that will not change. For example, they'll be wearing the same uniform. They will also be taking the same route to school, and they will still enjoy the same learning or food at lunchtime.
Prepare school equipment ahead of time
Pen? Ruler? Calculator? Getting everything ready for starting a new year together can be a great way to ease both of you back into the new year, and get your child excited with a new set of stationery.
Set some goals together
When you’re talking about going back to school, why not take the opportunity to write down a couple of goals for the year with your child. Is there anything they want to achieve or improve upon? It could be a sweet idea to put them somewhere safe and special, like on the fridge or in a special envelope to open again at the end of the year.
Lockdown was a massive change for everyone, and now that we are going back to school, we need to help our young ones prepare for another significant change. We can do this together, and we can have a successful and safe year.