Supporting children with their return to school

The staff and I are very much looking forward to welcoming our students back to school from next week. However, we acknowledge that the children may be feeling a variety of emotions about returning which is very normal. Supporting children with their return to face-to-face learning in the classroom is extremely important, as while children and adolescents have a great deal of resilience, the longer days, changed routine and structure of school may impact some children more than others, causing stress and anxiety.

There are some useful strategies from the Australian Psychological Society, Relationships Australia NSW and Learning Links which may help you to support your child with their staggered transition back to school. I have included some of these below.

Reassure your child that it is safe to go to school
If your child is worried about the safety of returning to school, to help them feel safe, have a conversation with them explaining that:

  • the decision to return to school is based on medical advice
  • everyone at school is working hard to make sure that children and teachers are safe
  • anyone who is unwell will stay home
  • reassure your child that it is normal to have mixed emotions such as excitement, relief, worry or anger
  • reinforce good hygiene practices. 

Re-establish normal routines in the lead up to school

  • The week before: return children to their usual wake up and bedtime routines, as well as breakfast and morning snack/lunch.
  • The day before: Involve your child in packing their bag and preparing their uniform.
  • The morning of: Allow more time than usual to get ready. 

Create a Plan
Make a plan for the first day and first week of school. Planning can help reduce stress and anxiety by adding structure and routine to new, changed or uncertain situations.

  • Set up some playdates with school friends (while adhering to government guidelines and restrictions) to help your children feel connected with their school community and outside classroom.
  • Support children to get plenty of rest, especially in the first week or two after returning to school as they are adjusting to a much busier schedule than what they have recently been used to.
  • As a family, plan some fun recreational activities to look froward to on the weekends.

If you feel that your child may require additional support with the transition back to the classroom, please contact your child’s classroom teacher; relevant Year Level Co-ordinator; Deputy Head of Junior School – Wellbeing, Alby Ingles; or me.

Kylie Baxter
Head of Junior School Kew