After five long months of home learning and remote schooling, the prospect of a return to the classroom is understandably an anxious thought for school pupils.
The school environment will look much different to what they are used to, plus new measures will be in place to aid social distancing and enhance hygiene levels. While many will be excited to see friends and settle back into some form of routine, there are likely to be some worries present too.
In this blog, SCIS offers some advice on how to make the transition from home to school a little easier for pupils after long months of lockdown.
A blend of positivity and realistic expectations
Children are generally very resilient, and most will be looking forward to the prospect of returning to some sense of normality and seeing friends and teaching staff again. However, it’s inevitable they will feel unsure returning to school after so much time spent at home.
Pupils, especially those of primary school age, look to adults for an indication of how they themselves should react to a situation. Be careful not to impress any of your own anxiety on to children, and promote a positive, hopeful feeling about the return to school.
Although you should remain positive, it is important to also be realistic about what they can expect at school. Run through the changes that have been made at their school, such as one-way systems, staggered starts and no sharing of school supplies, with them so that they know exactly what to expect.
Living with uncertainty
It is important that parents don’t promise that things will return to normality soon – this could only create further worries down the line when things don’t progress as planned.
Children must be taught how to cope with a sense of uncertainty, and they need to know they can talk to adults about any worries they may have. Foster conversations where they can reveal their worries to you – try talking while doing baking, crafts or other activities where children won’t feel under pressure.
Regaining a routine
With no school to wake up early for, children will naturally have been getting up and going to bed later. Rather than introducing any sudden changes to routine, it’s better to do so gradually – for example, bringing bedtimes forward by 15 minutes every couple of nights.
Their social skills will also be out of practice, so it’s a good idea to steadily introduce more time with friends outside of school too. Small bursts of social activity will help to ease them back into the habit of hanging out with friends and reconnecting friendships that might have grown apart over the months of lockdown.
While some children will adapt to ‘the new normal’ fairly easily, others will take a longer time to adjust. It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself or them, as this remains a challenging time for all of us.
Above all, don’t be afraid to contact the school if you feel that your child would benefit from some extra support.