While it hasn’t been compulsory for parents to send their children back to school these past few weeks, things might change as the schools prepare to reopen in September. As it’s a stressful time for everyone, it’s important that both you and your children feel comfortable and safe when the time comes. So how do you prepare for it? How can you support your children who are returning to school after lockdown?
Returning to school after lockdown: advice for parents
1. Find out how your children feel
Talk to your children about how they are feeling about returning to school after lockdown. Ask them if they are worried or if they are scared about anything, but also ask them what they’re looking forward to and what they are excited about. Whatever your children feel, it’s important to let them know that it’s okay to feel that way and that a lot of other children will feel the same.
2. Help your children prepare for their new routine
Many children are suffering from anxiety, especially in this uncertain time, so help them gain back some control. By finding out as much information as you can about how their new routine in school will work, you can then help them to prepare for it. By simply talking about the new changes that will be in place in school and walking them through the timings and what they’ll do will help massively.
3. Reassure your children
Life is going to be so different in school. For months, children have been learning to stay indoors, to stay 2 metres away from people outside, and to wash their hands regularly. Once they go to school, this will be a massive and quite overwhelming change that they will need to adapt to so reassure them. Talk about the ways they can stay safe in school and let them know that the teachers will be helping them and that everything will be okay.
4. Gradually ease them into their school routine again
As we just mentioned, life has been so different in lockdown so your children’s routines would have changed quite drastically. To help them transition back into their school routine, start to introduce things gradually. For example, start with bedtime and waking up times, then move onto things like winding down in the evening with a book.
5. Think ahead and be positive
Even if you are nervous or anxious, help give your children something to look forward to; help them develop hope and a sense of excitement for the future. At such an uncertain time, it’s easy to get down in the dumps and to dwell on the negative but it doesn’t do any good for anybody. To help your children cope with their feelings and to show them that the current situation won’t last forever, talk about what they are looking forward to and focus on that.
6. Don’t add extra pressure on yourself
It’s a really difficult time, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Returning to school after lockdown isn’t going to be easy, your children are going to experience ups and downs, and all you can do is your best. All you can do is support them, reassure them, and comfort them. The rest (particularly the homework and a new seamless routine) will come later.
7. Seek support if you need it
As we said, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re finding things really difficult and your children are struggling to adapt to being in school again, reach out and get help. The school will work with you to support your children and your GP can help with their physical and mental health. Don’t struggle alone.
Supporting your children will also help you too
As September draws near, you might find yourself getting worried and anxious about your children returning to school too. That’s completely normal, we’ve all gotten used to a new routine, but it’s time to transition to some resemblance of normality.
If you work hard trying to help your children prepare for returning to school after lockdown; if you reassure them and help them to be positive, what you’ll soon find is that all this will help you to feel better about it all too.