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The ultimate back to school guide in this new normal

The ultimate back to school guide in this new normal

While our lives have been put on hold and many of our plans for 2020 have been shelved, the effects that COVID-19 have had on our children shouldn’t be underestimated. From missing school friends to staying on top of the curriculum, a whole new set of challenges awaits kids when they go back to school in September. 

This is precisely why we’ve created this here guide, to help your children make the transition from neverending COVID time to the stricter and more routine-based school hours. It’s not going to be easy…Take a look. 

What your children can expect when they return to school

back to school

Before we give you tips on helping your children adjust, they’ll first need to know what to expect. There are going to be lots of changes!

  • Journeys to school will be staggered. To prevent groups from gathering and commingling, the government wants student and teacher arrivals to be staggered. There may also be staggered lunch and break times to prevent congestion. 
  • New look classrooms. Every classroom will now be spaced apart to ensure social distancing, assemblies will be banned, and staff room use needs to be minimised.
  • Behaviour policies will be updated. The government has already stated that there will need to be more consequences in place for bad behaviour (specifically, for breach of new hygiene and distancing rules). 
  • Testing kits and other facilities. In schools, new additions include dedicated cleaning spaces, mobile testing kits, and other handwashing stations. 
  • Fines for non-attendance. As attendance is now compulsory once September comes, there have been proposed fines (despite the opposition of headteachers).

  • How you can support your child and their mental health

    support your child and their mental health

    What we’re going to do now is go through some feelings that you and your children may have regarding the return to school. These are just scenarios that as parents you may be faced with, or that your child may have been thinking about. Let’s go!

    How can I make my child feel more at ease with going back to school?

    This question will be in the back of most parents’ minds. Having an open conversation with your child will really go a long way. Reassuring them that feeling anxious is completely natural while asserting the confidence that all safety measures will be in place. This is such a huge change and after home lessons, it will take a while for your child to settle. This is something else to communicate to your child: settling back in won’t happen overnight. 

    Ensuring that your child knows all the coronavirus do’s and don’ts (sneezing/coughing into their elbow, etc) may help make your child a bit more comfortable and confident about going back in. Finally, remind your child that they’ll finally be able to see their friends which is definitely something to look forward to!

    How can I encourage my child to follow the COVID-19 precautions?

    Make teaching your child about safety precautions a daily thing and even if they get sick of it, keep it up! You can keep kids safe from COVID-19 by simply stressing the importance of thorough hand washing and social distancing. This doesn’t have to be an intimidating conversation. When your child understands just why they need to wash their hands, they’ll do it, so explain how germs work invisibly and you’ll soon get the message across. 

    My child is unhappy about wearing a mask. Our school is encouraging masks, so how do I change my child’s mind?

    Masks aren’t the easiest thing to wear when you’re out and about, even us adults understand that. The key is to approach the conversation with sensitivity and understanding. Communicate that we’re all feeling a little anxious about the situation, that it’s completely normal to feel that way. Emphasise the importance of following guidelines to protect those who are more vulnerable in our community. 

    My child is becoming agitated and extremely anxious about going back to school. What can I do to help calm them down?

    First, help alleviate some of the physical symptoms and then your child should feel more at ease mentally. Strategies like mindful breathing and meditation can work wonders, as can ensuring that your little ones have a good night’s sleep. There are plenty of apps out there that promote mindfulness for children, and it’s a very healthy tool for coping with stress. 

    My child has been struggling socially since the lockdown lifted. How do I improve their social skills while reducing stress about September?

    Many children (and indeed, many adults possibly) are struggling socially since lockdown restrictions were lifted. It’s to be expected, and there are many techniques that will help boost confidence and sociability. In fact, we’ve written a whole thing about it so take a look at our back-to-school social skills guide here. What’s important is to keep an open dialogue with your child, and let them know they can come to their parents for whatever they want to talk about. 

    Finally, when it comes to playtime: get creative

    get creative

    This is a really stressful time for children, so when it comes to playtime you want them to be able to ‘unplug’ from everything that’s going on and really express themselves. Unlock their imagination with our range of creative & crafts toys, because a child’s imagination is a wonderful thing - especially at a time like this. 

    To get the right toys, be sure to use our Kids Toy Generator and in the meantime, keep an eye on our blog section. Information is important, and never more so than now.
    Next article How to improve and maintain your child's social skills ahead of the new school year