Some children will be eagerly awaiting the return to the classroom after the Christmas holidays but for others, this period can be filled with anxiety and stress as they head back into the daily routine of school runs, classrooms, and homework. This worry can be accentuated by the pandemic and the uncertainty around how the schools will be operating, staff absences, and potential school closures. If you notice your child struggling with the return to school here are some ways in which you might be able to ease the process for them.
Talk to them about how they feel
Talking with your children to discuss their feelings around returning to school is one of the most important things you can be. They may want reassurance about the measures the school will put in place or it may be enough just for them to feel as though they have a safe space to turn to to discuss their worries. You can help them by reassuring them that their worries and anxieties are completely normal and that there will be many others feeling the same as they do. Further, it is important to remind your child that you and their teachers will always be there to offer them any support they may need.
If you have younger children then it may be more difficult for them to express or even understand their feelings. If this is the case a good way to help get them to open up and express their feelings is to instigate a conversation when they are doing something they feel relaxed doing, such as while you are playing a game or out on a family walk. Younger children may also be more likely to ‘act out’ or become introverted at the end of the day. Try not to worry about this as it can be their way of dealing with the compressed emotions they have had during the school day. Allow your children some space to let off steam and decompress before quizzing them on their day.
It is also a good idea to talk to them about any rules that are in place and to ensure that they understand them. It could be additional sanitization such as hand washing or mask-wearing or even social distancing. The better prepared they are and the more they understand the better placed they will be to deal with the changes on their return.
Get extra help where it is needed
If you feel that navigating your child’s emotional or educational needs is beyond your remit then do not be afraid to seek additional help. It could simply be by way of a conversation with their teacher, the wider school community, or potentially physician. It may be that they are lacking a little confidence and simply helping them educationally can make all of the difference, hiring tutors or even just printing out some extra worksheets to work through with them can make all the difference. Here are some free third-grade writing samples for example that you can do together at home.