While the prospect of going to back school will be exciting for many pupils, some might feel anxious. That’s perfectly normal. Lots of children will feel the same way.
Start to talk to your child about the daily routine that they were once so familiar with and what they are looking forward to about going back. You could go through some of the changes they may expect at school and think about ways they can re-establish their connections with friends and teachers.
Reassure children about the safety measures in place to keep them safe and remind them that they can also help prevent germs spreading by washing their hands with soap and coughing or sneezing into their elbow and giving everyone extra space.
It doesn’t have to start as a conversation about worries, but these might arise as you talk. The Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Time for Us’ pack to help manage those worries.
It’s often good to have these discussions while you are doing something else, like playing with Lego, drawing, cooking or travelling in the car rather than sitting face-to-face as that can feel quite intense.
It’s been a hugely disrupted year, and it might take a little while for children to get used to the change, and that’s normal. There’ll be ups and downs. Try your best to support, reassure and comfort them, without putting pressure on yourself to make it better.
If your child experiences difficulties while they’re at school, please contact their school to make them aware, so that you can work together to support your child. If you’re concerned about your child’s mental health, speak to the school and your GP.
- NHS Every Mind Matters website has lots of useful information about looking after your children’s mental health during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Young Minds offers advice about mental health for children and young people up to the age of 25. They also have a Parent Helpline on 0808 802 5544.
- Childline offers a confidential telephone counselling service, so your child can speak to someone anonymously. They can call 0800 1111 any time, free of charge, have an online chat with a counsellor, check out the Childline message boards.
Originally published on 3 March 2021