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Tips for parents as children head back to school

This article has been written by Dr Kathy Weston.

So, parents finally have a date for school return! In England, the 8th March will mark the end of another period of lockdown and some semblance of normality returning. In the run up to March 8th, everyone (school staff included) may be feeling understandably anxious, but it’s worth remembering that wobbles are often made up of a mixture of excitement and nerves. It can be tricky to separate out the two. As far as children are concerned however, it is best that adults keep their own worries and anxieties to themselves. Transition back to school can be a delicate time and children rely on parents and carers to be positive, confident, and excited for them. For your own piece of mind, acquaint yourself with the school rules and any edits that have taken place recently regarding testing, drop-ffs or mask-wearing. Gently translate new school rules to your children and help them understand that rules are there to keep us all safe.

Make a big deal of focusing on all the lovely things that will be familiar at school and unchanged. Imagine how exciting it will be to see your teacher again in the flesh? What do you think the first day might be like? What games are you looking forward to playing? Which friends are you most excited to see? The tone should be upbeat, cheerful and helpfully supportive of school staff. Staff have a lot of their plates when children go back, parental support will be essential. Give staff and pupils time that first week back to settle in, have confidence in staff professionalism and enjoy having that house all to yourself for the first time in months!

Some of us might be worried about that first day back and preparing for it. It may have been some time since you were even in car or on the school run. Don’t leave anything to the last minute. With a week to go, it’s a good idea to find those keys, dust off those school bags and make sure the P.E. kit and school shoes fit. It is worth us all remembering something else as we see our children off during those first days; they go to school to learn. Don’t be afraid to tell them to try their best, listen to the teachers and work hard. Expect them to come home and be rather fatigued in those early days; school return necessitates a great deal of cognitive labour. Children will not want to answer numerous questions as soon as they come in the door. Give them time. Friendships will need some recalibration following the social drought we have all experienced too, so give children and their friends time to re-adjust. So as to ensure our children’s mental health and wellbeing is taken care of for this next term, work hard on ensuring they go to bed at night, are well-slept and see them off each morning with a fantastic breakfast. The latter ensures that they are best able to concentrate, learn and focus during this magical period of being back in the classroom.

 

Dr Kathy Weston is the one of the leading experts on parental engagement in children’s lives and learning. Read more about her work here: www.drkathyweston.com or follow her on:

 

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