Every year as the summer holidays come to a close, ‘back to school’ slogans and tips for getting children ready to head back to full-time education spring up everywhere.
This year though, some children will be going back after having nearly six months off school due to the pandemic. Even if you’ve stuck to a strict home-schooling routine throughout lockdown, they may need to adjust to it. Many children are likely to be excited to see their friends again and even getting stuck into traditional lessons. But there may be some reservations and nervousness. Not only may they be joining a new class, having a new teacher and needing to get back into the routine, but the way schools operate is going to be different too.
1. Find out the measures your child’s school will be taking
Across the country, classes will be in ‘bubbles’ to help prevent the spread of infection. This means different classes are likely to be kept separate as much as possible. It may have an impact on things like break time, lunch, assembly and extra-curricular activities. To meet social distancing guidelines, there’s likely to be new rules in the classroom, this may include not sharing equipment or staying seated throughout classes.
Finding out what these are ahead of time allows you to prepare children for the changes they’ll encounter. It’s also a chance to discuss why social distancing is still important.
2. Talk about the fears they have
Even children that have been happy and carefree throughout the lockdown period may have some fears about heading back to school.
Naturally, they may have picked up on concerns you may have or caught a glimpse of the news over the last few months. Going through these fears can help put their mind at rest. The situation has changed significantly since the pandemic started; explaining this but also recognising that there are still risks,can help keep them safe as they go back to school.
They might also have the usual going back to school jitters. From worrying about making friends to whether or not they will like their teacher. A chat can help calm fears and get them looking forward to a new school year.
3. Get back into a routine
If your usual family routine has slipped during lockdown, you’re not alone. Kids may have been staying up later, spending more time on consoles than normal or sleeping in. With the back to school date now looming, it can be useful to start sticking to the routine you usually follow.
It’s a step that can make it easier to transition back to term time for the whole family and mean stress levels don’t soar as you try and get them ready for that all-important first day back.
4. Carry on some home-schooling activities
You might not usually plan school work during the summer holidays, but it’s worth keeping this up where possible. With such a large amount of time out of formal schooling, there may be some gaps in their education that a few extra hours can help fill. There are plenty of options for this. Your child’s school may still be offering additional support, tuition and learning resources are available online, or you can take a DIY approach.
Home-schooling doesn’t need to be strictly planned or formal to have an impact. A few hours a day working through a workbook, encouraging them to spend time reading or even getting out to visit a museum to learn more about history can get them in the right frame of mind to learn.
5. Make a list of things they’re looking forward to
Get them excited about heading back to school by creating a list of all the things they’re looking forward to. Social activities and getting to play with friends again are likely to top the list. But there will be other things too. Perhaps they’re excited to start a new art project or join a sports club they’ve missed during lockdown.