Around the UK, many schools have welcomed young people and children back to school for the start of a new term. There are many things for schools to consider and implement to ensure the safety of all involved. The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown is an unprecedented situation in modern times and it is hard to gauge the full impact that the situation is having on our children and young people’s mental health and well being. As things change, it is important to ensure that children are kept safe and that children, parents, carers, and staff feel supported.
Children and young people’s experience of the lockdown period will be extremely varied. For some children lockdown would have been a safe and enjoyable time but for others it could have been traumatic and challenging. After being off school for such a long period of time, it is only natural that many young people will be feeling anxious about going back.
The Different Feelings about going back to school
Children might have different feelings about returning to school. Some might feel anxious for a variety of reasons, while others may be happy.
Children who have previously experienced bullying at school may be nervous about seeing their peers again. Some children may have experienced cyber bullying or problems with peer relationships while they were learning at home.
Some children may be feeling anxious about catching up on schoolwork or nervous that they have fallen behind during the pandemic.
Providing support for children
To help children with this transition back make time to talk to your child about all the changes that are happening at the moment. Ask them how they feel and if there is anything they would like to share that is making them feel worried about being in school.
Here are some tips from our Remarkable Me team on how you can support your child to transition smoothly back to school life.
1) Ask your child about how they are feeling about going back to school
Ask them if they are worried or anxious about anything but also what they are looking forward to. Let them know that it is completely normal to feel a variety of emotions and that everyone feels the same.
2) Give your child all information on the school day and new routine
Doing this will help them mentally prepare for any changes that may occur. For example, the layout of their classroom, playtime structure, and timings. It might be helpful to ask the school for some pictures to help children get accustomed to it as well.
3) Reassure your child
Over the lockdown period we were constantly told to socially distance. Children may feel nervous or uncomfortable about going back to school as this is a change from when they have been told to do during lockdown. Make sure you reassure your child that their school is putting measures in place to keep them safe and discuss ways they can keep themselves safe such as washing hands before and after eating.
4) Re-introduce a school routine
Most family’s routine changed during lockdown with children getting up and going to bed later. Help children get in a good routine for school by gradually moving their morning and bedtime routines closer to a school day routine.
5) Don’t put pressure on yourself
The transition back to school is going to take some time and children will have good days and bad days. Don’t beat yourself up! You are doing the best you can in a very unusual situation. Try your best to support, comfort and reassure your children without putting too much pressure on yourself.
10) Focus on the future
Although it can be hard to feel positive, help children to feel positive by identifying things that they can look forward to. Let children know that this current situation won’t last forever and that things will get better.
11) Reach out for support if you need it
Transitioning back to school after being in lockdown can be hard for a lot of children. If you are struggling please reach out to your child’s school ASAP so that you can work together to support your child.
At Remarkable Me we can offer your children 1-2-1 mentoring support or individual counselling for parents.
For more information please visit - https://www.remarkableme.uk/1-2-1-support-sessions