Many children in Reception, Year 1 and 6 are returning back to school in England today after 10 weeks at home. It’s going to be an important transition for students, teachers and parents, many of whom will still have concerns over the “new” way of life at school.
Year 10 and 12 students will also have the opportunity to return to school from June 15th to receive face-to-face teaching in small groups.
Here are some suggestions for parents to help manage the transition back to school for students:
1. Talk it out
It might be daunting for some students to return back to school after 10 weeks of home schooling. They have adapted to a new routine at home and have been away from friends and teachers for a considerable amount of time, so it may take them time to adjust to the idea of leaving the house. Ask your child how they are feeling about it, do they have any concerns? If so, what are they? Try and address their worries, don’t just assume they’ll be excited about going back to class.
Routines are safe and familiar, which can help to reduce anxiety. Create a new daily structure to reflect the “new normal”. It will help your child stay organised and focused on their schoolwork and will help them regain some of their regular habits and self-discipline that they had prior to Covid-19.
3. Revisit good hygiene practices
It’s easy to become complacent or to assume your child knows best practice when it comes to hygiene, but after 10 weeks at home it’s important to have this discussion before they return to school. Reviewing these can help your child feel more at ease about their safety at school, and could help to reduce anxiety about social interactions at school.
4. Limit exposure to media
To help reduce anxiety for younger students about returning back to school, it might be worth reducing their exposure to the news. This might be avoiding news channels on the TV when they’re around or limiting what apps they have access to on their phones. With older children, try to help them think critically about media messages they are exposed to. Ensure they are reading and receiving news from reliable and reputable sources, and have open discussions with them about their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
5. Take small steps to re-integrate into society
Some fears can be alleviated with small, controlled exposures. Kids Helpline suggests a great first step could be a quick trip to the supermarket or organising for your child to meet a friend in the park whilst adhering to social distancing.