As you've probably heard, schools in the UK are starting to open up within the next few weeks and some parents will take the decision to allow their children to go back to schools, whilst the majority are likely to wait longer, possibly until September.
But whether or not your children are going back to school in June, July, or even September, have you given any thought to how you can help them prepare for this transition back to school?
Why Is It Important That We Help Prepare Our Children To Go Back To School?
Schools are going to be very different places for the foreseeable future and this could be unsettling for many children. Over the past few months most people, children included, have been living a very different life and schools have also been changing ever so slightly. As many schools are going to reopen to certain year groups, schools are going to change even more in how they operate because they've got to follow new government guidelines to keep children safe following the coronavirus outbreak.
As parents, it's our choice how we prepare our children to return back to school, but given that this lockdown and pandemic and all of the media-driven fears over the last few months, I think it's a wise choice to at least give some thought, time and attention to helping your child prepare to go back to school.
When my children go back to school, I want them to enjoy spending time with their friends, I want them to enjoy their learning again. But I don't want them to be overly focused or distracted on all of the new procedures and routines. I want my children to be able to understand the changes in their school, to be able to adapt to those changes, and more importantly, to move on so that they can get back to their education.
How Schools Might Operate Differently
By now you should have received information from your school outlining the changes that they are going to be making as children return back to school. Here are some of those expected changes you might see in your child’s school.
Read the official government guidance for a more comprehensive deep dive into the protective measure guidelines: CLICK HERE
Whether or not you believe that these changes are needed at all is your own opinion, but regardless of that, I can see how just some of these changes will have a dramatic impact upon the school environment and on the overall atmosphere. I think schools have been given a very difficult job and will have to work really hard to maintain an environment that feels positive and welcoming.
Help Your Children Be Prepared Mentally and Emotionally
As a parent, you can help your child prepare both mentally and emotionally for the changes and challenges ahead. I'm sure you'll have your own thoughts and ideas, but here are 3 areas to get you thinking:
Discuss How School Might Be Different.
If it's appropriate read the information from your school to your child and discuss each point relating to how the school will operate differently. Ask your child if they understand each point and discuss how each new procedure like social distancing may actually look in the school, and be open and honest about potential challenges that this may bring. For example, not being able to talk to or interact with certain children in the school. Try to identify with your child the potential issues that may come up that you feel might affect your child in particular. Ask your child if they have any concerns about going back to school. Listen to what they say, provide reassurance, and discuss solutions where possible.
Getting Back Into A School Routine.
What was your usual school routine like? The sooner you can start to transition back into something similar before school actually starts the better. Think about getting them to go to bed at the usual time on a school night. Get them to start waking up at an earlier time and if you've been homeschooling them, then perhaps increase the time that they're learning each day. These steps will help children gradually get more used to their normal school routine.
Build Their Confidence And Resilience Now.
By supporting your child through these challenging times and listening to their concerns, you're already going to do wonderful things for their confidence and their sense of personal safety. But right now it's such an important time to be even more purposeful about building our children's confidence, self esteem and resilience before they get back to school. The more positive support we can give our children now is going to help them immensely over the next couple of months. As a parent, let them know that you're there if they have any issues, help them feel safe and secure. Talk positively about the prospect of going back to school, thereby helping your child focus on the positive things that they're looking forward to.
Now is the time for you to help your children prepare to not just go back to school... but to bounce back with a smile on their face.
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