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Helping your child settle back into school successfully

Dear Parents/Carers.

I hope you received an email yesterday containing a letter for your children to read including web links and also attachments containing information I sent out in the last week of term.

In the run-up to returning next week, please make time for little conversations about how your children are feeling about going back to school. Be careful how you do this - the aim is to see if they do have concerns, not to plant new ones!

If your child does have worries, acknowledge their concerns first before offering reassurance.

For example:

  • ‘It's normal to feel worried about the virus, but here's what you can do to stay safe in school. That’s why Ms Rogers wrote to you yesterday and why school has changed some routines as well.’
  • ‘I bet other children will feel worried about having a new teacher, too.  That's why the teachers will spend lots of time explaining how everything will work when you get back.’

And a good way of turning a negative into a positive is using the phrase, "At least..."

As in:

  • ‘I know some activities will be different, but at least we know the teachers at Great Binfields will always try to make learning as exciting as possible’.
  • ‘I know you're in a different class and have a new teacher to get used to, but at least you are still with the children from last year so you already have friends.’

And don't be surprised if children want to talk about the same issue a number of times.  Kids often need to (repeatedly!) revisit an idea with an adult to get reassurance nothing has changed.

Please convey calm…..

It's natural for us parents/carers to have some level of  worry about returning our  child to school. But however you feel on the inside, it's really important to convey calm to your child.

Kids pick up on lots of little clues about how we as their parents are feeling and they use this information to inform how they should be feeling. If we look worried, they pick up on this and start worrying too!

So, if you do have concerns, it time to be an actor.  However you feel on the inside, aim to convey calm on the outside.

To do this, we need to think about:

  • What we say (and definitely what they overhear)
  • Our tone of voice
  • Our body language

Routines for sleep

In most families, routines around kids' sleep have become more... flexible! Bedtimes have drifted until later in the evening... and our kids are getting up later in the morning as a result. To move immediately from these routines to 'normal running' and getting into school for your staggered start could be jarring.

So start moving your child's bedtime back towards normality now.  Do this gradually, over the weekend as well as all of next week before they get back to school on Thursday.  If you have managed this already – a house point for you!!

Because if we leave it to Tuesday, it's likely our kids won't have time to adjust, and won't be able to get to sleep at the earlier time.

And then your child won't only have to cope with going back to school on the first day back - they'll be managing exhaustion too.

Be kind to yourself

Everyone has been through an emotional rollercoaster over the last few months - that includes you and your child/ren. And if you've felt overwhelmed or worried about sending your child back to school, that's okay.  It's entirely normal.

So be kind to yourself.

Make sure you:

  • Build in time for activities you find de-stressing  
  • Get some exercise (even if that's just walking)
  • Take some time alone, if you need it

All of these activities will help make sure you're in an emotionally strong place - so you can support your child with their emotions too.

Key takeaways

Lockdown was a massive change for all of us - including our children.  And now they're going back to school, we need to help them prepare for another big change.

So:

  • Talk through what school will be like - and what will happen during the day - so your child knows what to expect using the Q and A document I have sent out.
  • Make time to talk about any worries they may have
  • Let them see you looking calm and in control (even if you feel differently on the inside)
  • Ease them back towards normal bedtimes now (so they're not exhausted on their first day back)
  • Take care of yourself (so you can take care of your child)

 

Take care everyone,

Ms Rogers

Headteacher


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