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Tips for helping children who are worried about coming back to school

Prepare in advance

  • Before it’s time for them to go back, keep school in the minds of your kids – drive past the school if you can so that they can see that it’s still there.
  • Visual schedules could help, with pictures showing where to go on each day, or who they will be going with.
  •  Use calendars or countdowns to check off days before going back to school. Prior warnings can help as it may take longer than usual to adjust to going back to school following such a long break.
  • Now and Next boards are a useful tool in encouraging choice and communicating what is expected next.
  • Honour requests for information, repeated questioning could indicate uncertainty with the current situation.

One step at a time

Even when school re starts, you may find that children are more tired than usual by the extra demands and sensory stimulation placed on them. Ease them back in to their routine gently and wait to start other activities (clubs and activities) in a few weeks’ time.

Manage expectations

  • When the time comes, you’ll find you’ll feel less stressed if you know there will be bumps in the road.
  • Allow enough space and time in a new schedule for any hiccups so that you’re not having to manage too many demands (i.e batch cook dinners beforehand, don’t agree to extra activities or if possible, adopt flexible working hours).
  • Try to notice if you’re feeling anxious about the return to school in any way and if so, spend some time thinking about it and unpicking it. If children pick up on your anxieties, they may feel anxious too.

Managing worry and anxiety

If you know your child might struggle with going back to school, try developing a toolbox of things they can do when they are worried at school. This might include a song to sing to themselves, visualising a calm place, some affirmation cards, practicing a breathing techniques and identifying safe staff they can tell. You can make this box together which will help them feel calmer about coming back.

Reflect and celebrate at the end of the day

Consider what your child might want at the end of the day; it could be a chance to chat with you, speaking to a friend, having their favourite meal, or simply writing in a diary. Celebrating each day at a time is incredibly important.

Speak to your children about the impact of Coronavirus

Let children know that it is likely that other families have been impacted by the virus (whether that’s key worker parents working hard, or family bereavements). Encourage your child to be patient with and kind to other children. Talk to them about what they might still be expected to do – not hug friends, wash their hands often, not share food or toys etc.

For any children with special educational needs, they might need adaptations made for them. This might include visiting the school while it’s empty to familiarise them with the space, a video call with their teacher or a more phased return than other pupils – whatever’s best for them.

Reassure them they're not alone

It's completely normal for your child to feel worried and anxious about starting a new school or new year/term. Everyone copes in different ways with worries and anxiety, so it’s important to know the basics of anxiety which you can read on the below website.

 

https://www.barnardos.org.uk/blog/5-things-you-need-know-about-anxiety

Mindful Parents Workshop

This year we introduced the mindful parent’s workshop where we covered the following topics:

 

· Routine and sibling squabbles

· Emotions and calming down techniques

· Behaviour and Discipline

· Anxiety and confidence building

· E - Safety and social media

· Eating habits

· Cooking sessions

 

The workshop was very successful with parents continuing to support each other and use strategies they had learnt in the course.

 

We will be running this again in the new academic year 

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