Since our last blog post with ideas of how to keep your child entertained during lock down, the world has shifted a notch. The UK has gently started to ease the lock down and people are slowly returning to work, shops are reopening and children have started to return to school.
Some of you might be keyworkers and your children have been at school right the way through, but for many of us our children have been home since the end of March. Homeschooling whilst juggling all manner of other challenges has been tough, and the promise of kids returning to school after lock down might be the welcome break lots of us have been looking forward to! For others, the return to school might be met with some trepidation - are your children ready? Is the risk of transmitting the disease too great? Will your children be unsettled by returning to a school of 'bubbles' and different teachers, no shared toys/equipment and a whole 'new normal'?
Deciding whether your child should go back to school is not an easy decision for parents to make. At present, it is not compulsory for parents to send their child back to school here in England. It is important that parents do what they feel is right, comfortable and safe for their entire family. No one can make that decision for you, you have to go with what your gut tells you.
If you have decided that your child needs to go back to school, here are some helpful tips on how you can help transition your child back to school life (these will also be very helpful once everyone returns to school in September after a long long break!)
6 Ways to Support Your Child Returning to School After Lock Down
1) Information Communicate with the school so that you can get as much information about your child's new school routine as possible. If you can speak to your child and prepare them for the new ways of doing things, they will be more likely to feel relaxed and calm going into school after lock down. Speak to them about the new layout of classrooms, the new lunch routine, new friendship groups and the fact that some teachers/assistants may be wearing masks and protective equipment. This is especially important for younger children - do not presume that they know what to expect - go through everything with them so that there are no surprises and it will make for a smoother transition back to school.
2) Re-Establish a Routine During lock down it is quite possible that your family worked around a very loose routine in comparison to life pre-lock down (if you had a routine at all!). Before your child returns to school, try to get a more structured routine back in place to give them a sense of safe familiarity. This means earlier bed times to allow for earlier wake ups and making sure that school bags etc are packed the night before so that there is no rushing around in the morning. Alleviating all potential for unnecessary stress is crucial for easing your child back into school life.
3) Be Organised It is more important than ever to label things so that it is easy for them to identify their own belongings and mitigate the risk of sharing items. Make sure that all of your children's belongings (pens, pencils, flasks and suchlike) are labelled so that they are clear which is theirs. Our mini stick-on labels make naming pencils, felt tips easy- simply peel and stick on to stationery items. Don't let all the good hand hygiene being practiced at home go to waste once your child returns to school- a friendly reminder on their lunch box will help them keep up the good work and give you peace of mind too.
4) Talk to Your Child Speak to your child and ask them how they are feeling. It's important not to project your own worries or fears onto your child, but instead to ask them what might worry them or make them feel nervous about returning to school. Reassure your child that it's completely normal to feel a mixture of emotions at returning to school after being home for so long; they might be excited to see their friends again, but nervous that they won't remember the names of teachers. They might be worried about the expectations placed upon them or frightened of being 'behind' with work. Give them reassurance that it's completely normal and everyone is in the same boat.
5) Be Prepared for Difficulties It takes a great amount of emotional containment for children to stay focused and in control at school. When they get home to their 'safe place', it's common for children to exhibit after-school restraint collapse; a phenomena which takes a great amount of patience for us parents to handle! Giving your child time to decompress and unwind after a day at school is crucial to ease their transition back to school life. Be prepared that they will be extra tired, extra cranky and in need of an extra hug.
6) Be Positive Giving your child something to look forward to and be positive about in the future will help (all of us) to get through this period of uncertainty and worry. It can be hard to feel positive, but identifying the things that they can look forward to will help them to realise that the current situation won’t last forever and their feelings will change. There is so much to look forward to, and brighter horizons are coming!
We have started making some new labels reminding people to wash their hands. Have you claimed your FREE set yet? Simply add the pack to your cart and use the code STOPTHESPREAD during the check out process. A simple way we can help our customers and their families at this unsettling time.
We hope that you find these labels useful as you order up your school name labels ready for the new school year. Don’t be late ordering as we’re expecting a HUGE rush over the summer as we approach the new school year in September.