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Supporting your child as they return to school

School children
  • Date published:

  • Author: oliverkyle

With children now returning to school, it can be a time of change, worry and uncertainty for children and grownups alike.

After spending the last few months in a safe ‘bubble’ with their family at home, these kinds of emotions are normal. As a parent, you may also be feeling a mix of emotions, and finding it confusing to navigate all the information on social media and the news.

To help you and to support your child as they return to school, we have compiled a number of resources that you may find useful:

Returning to school infographics

Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Preparing your child for returning to school

Trauma Informed Schools UK

NHS England

Signs child might be experiencing anxiety


Quick tips for managing your child’s anxiety

  1. Acknowledge how your child is feeling, this may be happy, sad, angry, or confused. Say to them ‘yes it is all a bit strange and different’, ‘it’s okay to feel nervous/worried’, ask them ‘who will you talk to if you feel sad at school today?’ Identify a safe person in school that your child could talk to if needed. Remind them that lots of other children will be feeling the same as them
  2. Have conversations with your school. Find out exactly what school will be like, who will be there, what will be different and what will be the same. You can then fully inform your child so that they know what to expect when they do return to school
  3. Find out what your child already understands about COVID-19/Coronavirus. Try to dispel any myths, and refer to reputable sources such as NHS and Government websites. Discuss with your child the reasons for social distancing and hand washing
  4. Discuss with them how your body can feel when you are sad, anxious or worried. The feelings may make their heart race, they may feel sick, get stomach ache or feel like running away. This is normal, but there are simple actions they can take to help them feel better. For example, thinking about the things they love to see and do, and breathing techniques, that can help them to feel better
  5. Plan things to look forward to. Although you may not be able to go on trips or holidays, you could plan a movie night or a trip to the park for a picnic. You could also start filling a jar with wishes/ treats that they may like to do in the future
  6. Acknowledge your own mental health and how your own thoughts and feelings may be influencing your parenting. If you do feel overwhelmed, isolated or unable to cope, there is lots of support available

Useful links

Preparing for secondary school life

Moving on to secondary school is a big step in a child’s life, but for Year 6 children at present, the transition from primary to secondary may feel even more overwhelming.

Here are some resources to support the transition from primary to secondary:

Our sister website, Health for Teens, has produced a short video featuring current Year 7 pupils and a secondary school teacher exploring some of the common fears and concerns held by Year 6 pupils. Watch the video here.

Making the move