We are really looking forward to 8 March, when, after much anticipation, our children will all be able to return to school. Whilst some children will be very excited about getting back to normal, others may be nervous at the prospect of change, as they transition from being at home full time to being physically back at school.
It is important to note that it is very normal to feel worried or anxious when experiencing times of change and uncertainty. We know that children may, quite naturally, feel a little worried about returning to school after a prolonged time away. Do continue to talk to your children, encouraging them to discuss their feelings or worries and give them opportunities to bring up any concerns. It might be that your child opens up when they are not directly asked how they are feeling, perhaps on a walk, while washing up or even in the bath.
We know that every single child will have experienced this pandemic and this lockdown, along with previous periods at home, uniquely. For most pupils, the challenges they faced over the past year will have been met with characteristic resilience, and they will be even better equipped to meet any future challenges as a result of it. Some children will just glide into this new stage, whereas others might need a little longer to process the past few months.
There are several things that parents can do at home to support a child who may be worried or anxious about change. Demonstrating calmness, empathising with what your child is feeling and reassuring your child are three really easy, but key things that will help your child. Highlighting the positives in any situation is also really helpful. Perhaps ask your child to think of 2 or 3 highlights from their day (even if they might well be the same as yesterday!). Talking about what your child is looking forward to about returning to school is also really valuable.
We all know how important familiar routines are for children. As the school returns to normal, it is important that children settle back into these familiar routines. Schools will be doing all they can to find elements of consistency to support pupils and help them to adjust. At Lambrook, we will be maintaining familiar routines and timetables and will be creating opportunities for the children to talk to teachers, as well as each other, about their experiences, and developing effective peer support.
As parents, focus on emphasising confidence in a child’s ability to cope. Try to engage children in helping to think about different strategies they can use, should they be worried. For example; ‘…so what are we going to do about this? We can’t do X… but we can do Y…’ or by being hopeful: that somehow this situation may make space for something different and better to happen.
Keeping up healthy habits and routines will really support your child well. Pupils thrive under routine, and I am sure will continue to thrive back in the routine of physical school life.
Ed Marland, Head of Pastoral
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