Many children will be looking forward to returning to school, excited to see their friends again and even going back to lessons in the classroom. But, understandably, after not being at school for a while some children may feel a bit nervous about going back – from having a new teacher, joining a new school or class, to being worried about how school will look with Covid measures in place.
Here are some tips to try and ease the back to school nerves:
Keep it positive
For children who don’t relish the idea of going back to school, keep the process as positive as possible. Think about all the things they like about school, for example seeing their friends or playing in the playground, and focus on these when you talk about the upcoming school year. If your child has a new school bag or haircut, talk about how fun it will be for their school friends to see their new look. Make shopping for school supplies into a fun event. Where possible let them choose their items in their favourite colour or style.
It is also important to make sure you keep positive about your child returning to school too. Whilst it’s natural for all parents to have some level of worry when their child goes back to school, children are quick to pick up on clues about how their parents are feeling. So however you feel on the inside, it is important to remain calm when talking about school to your children. If children sense you’re worried about them going to school, they will start to worry also.
Find out what will be different
Schools have put plenty of safety measures in place for children to return to school, so it would be a good idea to prepare your child by finding out what will be different when they return. The school may have different entry points and pick-up times for different years, the position of desks in classrooms will be different and playtimes may be different too. Check out your school’s website or social media for photos or videos so your child can see and prepare for what school will look like. It’s important that they don’t go into school expecting everything to look like normal as this may unsettle them.
Think about what will be the same
Whilst it’s important to know what will be different, it’s equally as important to think about what will be the same at school. Their teachers will all be there to welcome them back in to the classroom, as will their friends, and little things like their uniform will still be the same. Focusing on this will help reassure them about going back to school.
Re-establish a routine
During the summer holidays, and even during home schooling, it is understandable that your family’s routine will have changed. Children are likely to have been waking up later or going to bed later. To help them get ready for school, try to get them back into the usual morning and bedtime routines a few days before their return date.
Do as much as you can the night before
A mad rush the morning of their first day back will do nothing to settle their nerves. Instead, prepare their uniform, school bag, lunch and anything else they might need the night before. This will help them get into the mind-set that they have school tomorrow and make the morning less stressful, helping them focus solely on returning to school.