June 6, 2020

The return to school

For many, a return to school, pre-school or nursery took place this week and many more will be making this transition in some form over the next month. We recently held an Instagram Live on this topic to offer some practical ways you can help prepare your child emotionally for this. Having spent over eight weeks at home with loved ones, some children may find this shift challenging initially and there are ways we can help ease them through this transition.

1. Start putting structure and routine back in place

In the run up to their return date, begin making small changes with your routine at home. This could be an earlier bedtime or get up time for the morning, more structured meal times or getting things ready for school such as their uniform. Trying the uniform on is great way for your child to begin to think about their school setting again.

2. Do the school journey

Making the journey to school before the return day is another easy way to remind your child of old habits. Make the walk or drive to school and sit outside for a few minutes while you discuss what they’re looking forward to about the return.

3. Keep the conversation positive

As parents many of us may have mixed feelings about our children returning to their educational setting. It’s important not to project our own fears and worries onto our children as these are easily picked up.

4. Allow them to talk about their worries

Whilst it’s important to keep the conversation positive, it’s also imperative to let your child vocalise their worries about the return. They may have questions and fears you can help talk through with them.

5. Prepare them to expect some differences

Your child may be expecting to return to the same school experience they left in April. It can be helpful to discuss some of the changes so they know what to expect- a smaller group, a different teacher, different lessons etc. Help them see the positives of these new changes too.

6. Help them feel prepared to socialise again

We’ve all been somewhat limited to our family bubble in terms of socialising. Your child might understandably struggle with the idea of having to snap back into socialising with a group of friends. Acknowledge this is normal and help them prepare through writing a letter or postcard to a friend, a Zoom call in the days before the return or simply help them think of three exciting things they want to tell their teacher or friends about their time during lockdown, so they have something ready to say.

Whenever your child makes their return and whether it is for the odd day or a week on then off, we should also prepare ourselves for the emotional state they will be in when they return home. This explosion of being in such a social and busy environment will no doubt result in extreme tiredness and big emotions.

You can watch our Instagram Live on this topic here.

This blog post was written by Louise Treherne, Head of Character Education at Role Models. Louise has a degree in Psychology, 12 years experience as a teacher and 5 years as a Senior Deputy Head at a London Prep school. She now works as a Professional Coach and Educational Consultant.