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Coping with going back to school post-lockdown

Girl going back to school

One minute our kids were skipping into school (or dragging their feet), hanging out with friends and learning stuff. And then they weren’t. The global Covid pandemic saw classes move online, clubs cancelled, friends missed, and life turned upside-down.

But now it’s time to head back into the classroom, which will be exciting for many but may also be cause for stress and anxiety for some. It’s a lot for young people to deal with.

But here thanks to Rowan Prep School in Claygate, are some helpful tips, to help ease the transition.

Small changes

Schools have been working very hard to ensure a safe, happy and successful reopening for staff, pupils and their families. Most of school life will be the same – there will be lots of time to play with friends and resume school lessons, clubs and activities. 

There will be some new routines and rules to follow, but these have been introduced to help keep everyone safe. These might include different times for drop-off and pick-up for each bubble or eating lunch in your classroom rather than the school hall. 

Good hand washing will be important for all pupils. There will be some additional safety measures in place, all aimed at protecting both pupils and staff, but none of these should cause any concern. 

Feeling anxious

Most pupils will be looking forward to going back to school and will feel happy and excited. However, some may feel a little anxious about returning. This is a normal response after having been at home for the last few months. The staff will be on hand to support the children as they come back to school. Time spent in the class groups will be prioritise to build that sense of community and support. 

Keep talking

Talk to your child about how they are feeling about going back to school. Are they worried about anything? Or are they excited? What are they looking forward to most? Try not to make assumptions. No matter how your child feels, let them know that it is completely normal to feel a mixture of emotions and that everyone is there to support them. Their friends may also be feeling the same way. 

Be prepared

Schools will be providing lots of detailed information and talking to their families about reopening, and what to expect. You can help your child by talking together at home, providing them with as much information about their new routine (both at home and at school) and the school day as you can. This will help them to prepare for any changes that have been made to the timings of their day, the layout of their classroom, their form groups and bubbles, mealtimes and playtimes. Driving past the school (especially if this is a new school), looking at the school website – particularly photos and videos can be very reassuring and supportive. 

Communicate with the school

Let the school know of any concerns you have about your child’s learning experience during the school closure period, or about their feelings about returning. Take time to reassure your child and discuss how it is now safe to return to school, whilst during the lockdown, we were advised to stay home and remain socially distant. Explain how they can help to keep themselves and others safe at school by washing their hands regularly and listening to their teachers. 

Establish routines

Having healthy routines in place at home will also help with the adjustment of returning to school. Encourage your child to gradually return to bedtime routines and times that are closer to those used during the school term. 

Be happy

Most importantly celebrate the school day with your child. Look at the peaks and pits, so that any worries can be nipped in the bud but also highlights are not forgotten. 

Schools are delighted to be welcoming all pupils back, they are places for the whole family and community. Don’t forget to take those back to school photos and post to family and friends.

Rowan is a caring, family-focussed girls prep school and nursery in Claygate. Read our review here.

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