After being off school for a 6 week-long summer holiday, there’s no doubt that many young people around the country will be anxious about returning to school.
According to Children’s Society, around 1 in 6 ages 5-16 are likely to suffer from some kind of mental health issue, which is around 5 children in a classroom of 30!
If you’re wondering how to support your children’s wellbeing as they return to the classroom, take a read of this blog post below.
Schools tend to return right at the beginning of September, but specific school terms and holiday dates vary depending on which part of the UK you are in. If you are not sure on the exact dates, you can search the dates for schools in England and Wales by postcode on the government website.
Whether this is the first time your child is going to school, or whether they’ve been there a while it can be a daunting experience, but it can also be exciting! There are a few things you can do to help make the transition back to school as smooth as possible.
One of the most helpful things you can do is to encourage your child to get back into a routine a week or two before they are due to return. Gradually begin bathing your young children and putting them to bed at an earlier time and get them up earlier too. Practice getting them ready and dressed by a certain time in the morning, even if you’re not going anywhere.
Eating lunch and dinner at a similar time each day as they would when they are at school is also another helpful tip to get them back in a routine and get their body used to not constantly snacking.
If you have an older child who doesn’t need you to put them to bed or get them up, encourage them to get up at an earlier time each morning. If this is something they don’t want to do, it can be beneficial to make plans that they have to get up for so that they have a reason to wake up.
It can be useful to get your children back into the habit of learning before they head back to school and encourage a positive learning environment. Get a hold of the syllabus for the upcoming term and run through it together,
Primary school-age children can benefit from learning games, picture books and activities. Baking a cake together and getting them to add up the ingredients themselves or heading outside for a walk and counting the number of trees or flowers you see can be a way of encouraging learning whilst still having fun.
Secondary school children can benefit from a tutor to make sure they’re prepared for the school term ahead and can even give them a head start. Making sure your children have the knowledge, however in-depth, of the lessons ahead can make them feel much more confident about returning back to school.
Be open with your children and have honest conversations about the new term. Ask them what they are looking forward to and if they have any worries about the term ahead. Make sure they know that they can talk to their teachers and yourself about anything that may be bothering them and support their emotional wellbeing.
Ensuring that children and young people are having conversations about their feelings with their parents and carers is especially important, especially with mental health issues being so common in people under the age of 24.
The past 18 months have been especially difficult for children returning to school. In March 2020, primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across the country closed down to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, with teaching taking place online. Now we’re out of lockdown, schools are reopening after the summer break.
All restrictions were lifted on July 19th, but with such a huge disruption to the education system, there is no doubt that anxiety will be heightened about heading back to normal.
As well as the tips above, there are a few other things you can do to support your children if they are worried about their schools and covid.
Go through their timetable with them and explain if there are or aren’t any restrictions in place, as schools can make their own decisions. For early years children, it can be helpful for them to visualise their day so asking the school for pictures of the classrooms and hallways can be beneficial.
During lockdown and the months afterwards, we’ve all been told to stay home, away from other people and wear face coverings. Returning back to school in September with no restrictions may be overwhelming to some children, so providing reassurance and encouraging them to share their feelings can be really helpful. Provide them with hand sanitiser for before and after meals if it’ll make them feel more comfortable,
Assure them that there are still things in place to ensure everyone’s safety, such as the NHS test and trace app that will notify you if someone nearby tests positive.
If you notice that your child struggles transitioning back to school, or experiences difficulties and behavioural changes, contacting your GP is always advisable. With so many young people experiencing mental health issues, exploring all avenues of support through schools and GPs is the best way to ensure your child is getting the best help possible.
If you’re concerned about your child’s education and think they could do with extra support, Accelerate Tutors can help. All of our tutors are fully qualified teachers and we aim to make tutoring accessible to everyone.
For more information on how we can help, please get in touch at [email protected]