Re-establish a routine to help ease into school life. During lockdown it is understandable that your family’s routine may have changed. Children are likely to have been waking up later or going to bed later. To help them get ready for school, try to gradually get them back into their usual morning and bedtime routines as they get closer to their return date.
Books and stories can help children find the language for their emotions and experiences. Listen to this story called Ruby's worry. Is your child worried about anything? Starting back to school? Germs? If we know what they are, we can deal with them and everyone at school will be ready to help you and your child.
Show the pictures of the teachers to your child to remind them what we look like. Can they remember our names?
Talk about the classroom. Here are some photographs to share with your child to familiarise themselves again...
How you lead your child through this time will be directly impacted by how you are able to care for yourself during this time. Self-care may be harder at the moment – I get it, I really do, I'm finding that too – but it's all the more important to try and carve out even small moments for yourself.
Fresh air each day if possible, a few moments of quiet (even if it means using the TV to get it), enough water to drink and a kitchen dance to your favourite music are all good places to start. If you feel relaxed and calm, you'll find it easier to meet your child's needs as they go back to school.
In difficult times or moments of transition, it's important to remember that you are your child's safe haven. Having a strong relationship with you provides them with a solid foundation to go off confidently and happily into the world.
Your child may be struggling with the transition back to school from having been away for so long.
Even if it's not obvious, if they are feeling worried or stressed they will probably show this in their behaviour.
This is a good time to give them the benefit of the doubt, and remember that all behaviour can be seen as communication. If you anticipate that there might be a period of increased sibling arguments, bedtime refusal, tantrums or rudeness, it can help you respond more sympathetically in the moment as you remember that these are all ways your child is seeking to release tension or stress. Give them plenty of time and space to talk about how they feel and if they don't talk, because your children are young, then pay attention to their play and the messages they may be working through in it (play is how most children process their experiences, fears, and feelings).