It is always hard to get back into the school routine after lots of fun and late nights over the summer holidays. However, after this year’s pandemic and the extended time away from school, many children will find it harder than usual to return.
As well as going back into a new school year, with a new teacher and a new classroom, there will be lots of new Covid-19 social distancing rules to get used to. So it is completely understandable that this will cause both children and their parents some anxiety.
Here are a few tips and ideas for managing your child’s worries, alleviating separation anxiety and handling any emotional behaviour before they go back to school…
1. Show your support
It is really important for parents to understand their child’s emotions about going back to school and show support. Talk to your child to find out how they are feeling. Discuss the changes they can expect at their school, but remember to highlight the positives like playing and seeing friends.
The lovely Jenna from Supporting Steps has kindly put together this really helpful strategy called Understand, Prepare & Respond to help parents support their children through this unsettling time.
She is also running a ‘Back to School’ online workshop on the 31st of August at 8pm. Tickets are £10. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. To find out more about her excellent (I have been to one) workshops for parents please head over to her Facebook page.
2. Help them feel safe
A great way to help your child with separation anxiety is to allow them to take a small object in their school bag that acts as a comforter. This might be a piece of your clothing, a family photo or a small soft toy. You could also surprise your child with a secret note in their lunch box giving words of encouragement. I picked up these really cute back to school gifts from Porky Penguin for the girls.
I love the ‘Little Pocket Hug’. Such a unique idea for kids going back to school in these strange times and the personalised rainbow cards make a nice little lockdown keepsake.
3. Back to routine
If your child has been enjoying late nights over the summer holidays, it may take some time to adjust back to the early morning school routine. To help make mornings less stressful, it is a good idea to encourage earlier bed times at least one week before school starts. If your child will also be taking packed lunches for the first time, you could practice preparing their lunchboxes over the holidays and using them for picnics.
4. A little incentive
To encourage your child back to school and to reward them for their home learning efforts you could treat them to some new stationary or a new school bag? We picked up some great bargains in the Smiggle sale and some Harry Potter bits in Primark. My eldest can’t wait to take these into school to show her friends.
5. Family fun
Many children have had so much fun over the summer holiday that they feel sad about it coming to an end. To combat these feelings it is important to try and keep up some of those fun activities after school or at weekends. Why not plan something for the first weekend after school starts, to give your child something to look forward to? When they see that school doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on family fun, they’re less likely to have negative feelings about it.
I really hope that these tips will help your kiddies feel safe and happy going back to school.
If you have any advice you would like to add please leave a comment below!