Coronavirus outbreaks have triggered significant disruptions to everyday life, and children feel these changes intensely. While for many, the return to school will be welcome – a sign of life slowly going back to normal – they may also be feeling anxious and scared.
Here, we look at some useful ideas and tips for managing your child’s stress and emotions around their return to school.
A new school year
Starting a new school year is difficult at the best of times, especially if they are in crucial transition years. They may have to deal with new teachers, new classrooms, new classes and even new schools. Throw in all of the complicated coronavirus guidelines and well, it isn’t hard to see how stressful it may be for even the most confident of kids.
The best way to deal with this is to talk to your children. Find out what is making them feel worried and reassure them that it is absolutely fine to be anxious. Most of their friends and classmates will be feeling exactly the same!
Talk to them about the changes that will happen when they return to school. The classrooms will probably look a little different, and some of the routines may have changed, but in a few days, it will all feel pretty normal. Lots of schools have made videos to see what measures they have put in place. If your child’s school has made one, look at it together.
Reminding them of the guidelines
This is one of the trickier ones because even the most disciplined of adults often slip up. We aren’t quite used to the concept of social distancing yet, or not touching our face constantly. However, it is important that we try and stick to them as much as possible. While children won’t be wearing face masks at school, they may see some school staff wearing them at times, and people on their journeys to and from school. This can be a little daunting, especially for younger children, so remind them that the people they see are still the same people they know and love under the masks and that they are wearing them to help keep their community as safe as possible.
While current government guidance is that all children will return to school full time in September, we do not quite know yet what the future is going to hold in terms of more lockdowns and school closures. If your child is worried about the uncertainty that seems to surround almost every aspect of life at the moment, explain to them that we are all in the same boat and experiencing the same emotions. The adults around them are doing everything in their power to keep them safe, even if that does mean some significant changes that they don’t quite understand yet.
We are all experiencing an uncertain and unnerving time at the moment. Situations change on an almost hourly basis, and no one has any idea what will be going on from one week to another. Reassuring your child that they are far from the only person to feel anxious and worried as they return to school following lockdown is essential.
If your child is starting school, have a read of 21 Starting School Hints And Tips For Parents.