This week marks the beginning of the return to schools following the summer break. This is an exciting, positive time. It is also a time that brings with it a fair share of nerves and anxieties for many. These feelings are completely normal, and children this year, in particular, may be more apprehensive about the rules due to COVID19. The new term will see many of the covid restrictions that were in place before the summer holidays, scrapped for this term.
In this blog, we share our tips to help parents support children returning to primary school in England this week.
Talk to them about how they feel
The most important thing is to ensure your child knows they can speak to you. Ask them about how they are feeling, encourage them to share whatever it is they are worried about and try to answer and reassure them to the best of your ability. This will set the tone for the term so if worries arise later in the year, they will know you are there.
Watch out for signs to see if anything is wrong; anxiety can present itself in the form of pain in their belly, not sleeping right, not eating properly, easily becoming irritated and feeling tense, fidgety, or using the toilet often.
Plan & Prepare
Planning and preparing will help your child feel ready to go back to school. From school shoes to stationery, it is a good idea to have everything sorted in advance of the start day, to ensure they aren't worried about not having the right equipment. Ensure they get a good nightÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã¢âÂ¢s sleep and a good healthy breakfast before they set off on their first day.
Make sure they understand the rules (and you do too)
COVID19 restrictions have changed for staff and pupils since the last term. It's important to ensure that you and your child are aware of what will be expected of you as the new term commences.
This term, staff and students in primary school will not be required to wear a face covering, although they are still recommended in crowded spaces such as on school buses.
Social-distancing measures and rules around "bubbles" or "contact" groups, where pupils stay in a fixed group, have been relaxed. In many ways, the responsibility is now on the individual teacher to decide what common-sense measures should be kept in place.
Depending on the layout and size of their school, some will decide to keep some of their one-way systems and crowd-control measures.
It is important to keep up to date with the school's news. Particularly now, things are changing regularly, so it is vital to keep up with what is going on in your child's school. Keep an eye on the school website for any changes.
End of day emotions
It is totally normal after your child's first day back to want to know everything about how they got on and what they got up to but be prepared for them to be tired or overstimulated.
When they reach home and can release their emotions, they may have an outburst, give them time and validate their emotions. Find a way that works for them to decompress, this could be riding their bike, telling jokes, listening to music or simply doing nothing at all.
Most importantly, don't be hard on yourself or them. Challenges throughout the term will always arise but do your best, be there for them and the rest will fall into place.