Updated: Jun 1
Some parents leapt with joy when remote learning was coming to an end and that their child was now allowed to return to school. However, be mindful that your joy that remote learning is over may not be reciprocated by your offspring.
Other parents and children may feel nervous or reluctant about the return to school. Some of us might feel nervous about contracting COVID, frustrated with reopening plans or even sceptical about rule-following.
Here are some suggestions for how to facilitate a positive return to face-to-face schooling.
Your children will already have their own anxieties, and they don’t need to be taking on ours. It’s vital that parents are modelling emotions that give a child confidence about returning to school. If you think it’s okay that your child is returning to school, so will they. Luckily Term 4 is full of lots of positive and exciting times as well as the anticipation of the Summer holidays.
Talk with them
Have honest and open discussions with your child based on their age and maturity. Help them focus on what they can control, washing hands, and keeping social distance where necessary. Focus on what we know. Discuss how pick-up and drop might look different. Explain that it is okay if they take the time to learn the new rules.
Some children will be anxious about separating from you, others will be socially cautious about perceived changes in friendships and group dynamics. Others will want to see their friends but will be worried about the academic load.
Listen and reflect
Acknowledge their concerns
Make a list of worries from smallest to largest
Help them identify how likely each worry is
Help them identify evidence for helpful thinking
Develop a plan to problem-solve concerns
Coping thoughts to share with your child
Focus on what you will get to do at school
Talk about the things you missed most about school
The school want us to spend time with our friends
We will not be doing a catch-up of the whole year’s work
Lots of children missed out on learning during COVID
After a few days, school will feel normal again.
What can I do to prepare my child?
Start getting into a routine now to help with the transition
Adjust bedtime and wake-ups to model the school day
Get changed and eat breakfast together
Use lunch boxes
Reduce screen time
Connect with friends or peers.
This article was written by Parents You've Got This Child Psychologist Expert Dr Deirdre Brandner. Elevate your parenting skills with valuable insights and knowledge by exploring our range of informative masterclasses held by leading health and medical experts.