No matter whether your child is going back to the same school or taking the jump and starting a new one, it is always a big deal for not only them but you! With children having spent much more time that usual at home this year, it is bound to feel more daunting than usual. Plus, there are of course some safety precautions in place. We have put together a list of things that you can do to help them (and you) get ready to go back to school.
1. Be Excited
No matter what their age, your child can pick up on your emotions. Show them that you are happy and excited for them to back to school. Keep reminding them that they will have fun in school, they get to play with their friends and have lessons about things they like. They may still find it strange when they see people wearing masks or asking them to sanitise their hands but assure them that this doesn’t mean they can’t have fun.
2. Talk to them
Have a chat with your child about what school is going to be like. You could talk about how school might look a bit different to what they are used to because of safety precautions in place due to the Coronavirus. You could also talk about how they feel about having a new teacher and learning new subjects or topics. Perhaps you know what topics they will be studying; it might be a good idea to introduce them to this, so it isn’t such a shock.
3. Label everything
Whether this is your first child going to school or your fourth, you will know that adding your child’s name to everything is an important task to do before school starts. With 30 jumpers that all look the same it’s a real help for your child and the teachers. It’s always useful to let your child know where you have added the name labels so they can look for them. If sewing isn’t for you, you can always use iron-on labels that work just as well.
4. Keep a routine
During the holidays its pretty hard to keep a routine, there is also not as much need to do so. Mealtimes have probably been all over the place and bedtimes have been getting later and later. In the lead up to schools returning, try to keep consistent morning and evening routines school comes as less of a shock – for them and you! Getting enough sleep is important in a child’s development, sleep alongside a balanced diet sets them up in the best possible way for learning.
5. Do a dress rehearsal
Some of us may have been living in more loungewear than usual for a long time now, so new and stiff school uniform may seem daunting to young children. Allow them to practice getting themselves dressed into their new uniform and putting on their school shoes. Doing this means that the first day back is a little bit less nerve wracking – it also reduces the likelihood of unwanted surprises like finding out their school shoes have been outgrown!
6. Involve them
Although they may be young, many children like to feel they are in control. Including your child in buying new books and stationery, labelling their uniform, and packing their bag are not only helpful to you but also them. Not only will this let them feel in control, but it should also excite them to go back to school and use all their new belongings. You could even get them their own labelled bottle of hand sanitizer for their bag.
7. Play schools
Particularly for the younger children starting school for the first time, why not play a game of schools with them? You could give a lesson to their toys, count things together and read stories. This is something you could continue to do with them when they are in school as it may bring to light any worries they are having which you can then work through.
8. Decide on snacks and packed lunch
Again, to make your child feel in control why not decide together what food they will be taking to school. Food can sometimes act as a comfort if they are feeling homesick or anxious so it is always a good idea to include things they will eat and enjoy. Make sure that what you pack for your child is healthy and balanced, you could even make some of the snacks yourself. Be mindful that many schools now have rules about what can be eaten in school.
9. Keep them in the know
Whether they are in primary or secondary school, change is daunting – most adults find change hard! Keeping them in the loop about what is going to happen once they go back to school can help calm nerves. For example, letting them know who will be taking them to school and how they will be getting home, or helping them understand terms teachers may use surrounding COVID-19. It is probably best to not spring any unexpected surprises on them for the first couple of weeks back.
10. Prepare for after school routine
It is always best to let your child know what the plans are each day after school. For safety purposes it may be best to also let their teacher know your pick up plans and routines. If someone new is picking up your child who they perhaps are not used to it may be a good idea to have a ‘safe word’ or ’family word’ that the child knows to ask for.
Good luck to all the children going back to school this September!
We hope that has helped you in getting you and your child ready for the school routine. If you feel like you would like more guidance and advice, please see the videos below.