This fact sheet contains tips for parents to support their child’s wellbeing and mental health as they transition back and re-adjust to attending school. We aren’t exactly sure when this will happen, but we want you to be prepared.
Pay extra attention to your child’s emotions and needs
As your child returns to school, they may feel a range of emotions, including excitement, relief, or worry.
You may notice changes in your child’s behavior, sleep, mood, interactions with others, or eating habits – these are all normal expressions of worry and by noticing and responding with care and support, you will help your child to feel better.
As parents, it is important to be able to:
- recognize signs of increased anxiety, stress or
- know that it is a normal
- help children feel safe and supported.
Be aware of your own behavior
It is important to understand the effect your own behavior can have on your child. If you react in a way that suggests you are worried about your child going back to school, your child may worry too! Try to remain calm and positive when talking to your child about going back to school.
Reassure your child it is safe to go to school
During the distance learning period, your family, along with staff at your child’s school, have helped your child understand that staying away from school was necessary to keep them healthy and safe. Your child may now feel worried about whether it is safe for them to go back to school.
To help your child feel safe and less worried about going back to school, have clear and calm conversations and tell them the facts, including that:
- The decision for students to return to school has been made based on health
- Everyone at school is going to make sure they are keeping safe, and there is plenty of soap at school so that everyone can wash their hands many times a day.
- They will be allowed to sit next to their friends in the classroom and during group activities, as children like them usually do not get sick from COVID-19.
- The Government is keeping an eye on COVID-19 – if it starts to spread again, decisions about what we need to do to keep everyone safe will be made quickly.
- If anyone at their school feels sick, they will stay away from school until they feel better.
Prepare for changes to school processes
Changes to school’s normal processes may be necessary to ensure physical distancing requirements can be met. So that you and your child can prepare, your child’s school will communicate with you about changes to their processes.
Changes to school’s normal drop off procedures may mean that you are unable to walk with your child to their classroom. We understand that this may be unsettling for you and your child, particularly if your child is anxious about leaving you. Be assured that the school will have adequate staff on hand to ensure students are safe at all times, including getting from the school drop off to their classroom.
If you have any questions or concerns about the new arrangements, you are encouraged to speak to the school leadership.
Establish a back-to-school routine
Preparing for school and getting into a routine with your child will help make the transition back to school a positive experience.
Prepare to return to school
- Get back into the routine of waking up, having breakfast and going to bed at regular
- Discuss any issues or fears your child might have about going back to
- Talk to your child about what they like about school and what they have been
- Talk through the routine of what it’s like being at
Before the school day
- Involve your child in:
- laying out their uniform so it is ready for the
- packing their bag – you might make a game out of this with younger children. A visual checklist can help your child remember what they need to
- planning and packing their lunches and
- Try to have calm evenings and allow extra time to settle before bedtime if your child is feeling
- Allow extra time to get ready for school in the morning so that you are not
- Talk to your child about their day, including what they enjoyed, what may have worried them, and what they found
- Include some family time. Children may miss being at home with you during the day so it is important for them to feel close and connected with the family.