How to Help your Child Emotionally Prepare to Return to School Grounds - St Joseph's Narrabeen

How to Help your Child Emotionally Prepare to Return to School Grounds

Coming back to school after more than a term at home will be an adjustment for everyone – and some students may find it trickier than others.

We have a comprehensive plan that covers the Head, Health and Heart of our Joeys and their families – which you can view here. 

Sonia David, our School Counsellor (and Registered Psychologist) shares this important advice on how to ease students back into life at school again.

Discuss things openly. Have an open talk with your child about what returning to school means. Listen and try not to dismiss or minimise their fears but validate how they’re feeling. For example: ‘It has been a difficult time and there has been lots of changes and uncertainty, it’s okay to feel nervous.’ If they feel nervous or worried, help them understand this is a normal reaction, and that you and their teachers are there to support them.

Reassure your child school will be a secure place. Focus on the safety measures school has in place – cleaning, hand washing, teachers wearing masks and being vaccinated and limited visitors to the school.

Be positive about returning to school. Highlight the positive aspects of school by asking what they like about school and what they are looking forward to when they return. Let them know that school staff are looking forward to seeing them. Your child might like to make a list or drawing about things they have missed about school.

Set up routines. Routines help provide certainty and increase feelings of security, so it will help to re-establish routines and plan for the return. Set up a routine in preparation for your child going back to school including dinner, bath and bed times. Agree on revised bed and wake up times as these may have changed during home based learning. Talk about or trial any new drop off/pick up arrangements.

Prepare and practice. Ask your child to help you prepare all school equipment school bag, books, lunch box etc. A visual checklist might be helpful to remind children what they need. Practice wearing the uniform, hat and shoes before being back on site. Encourage school routine during home based learning including crunch and sip, recess and lunch time.

Model and practice calming strategies. It is important to understand the effect your own behaviour can have on your child. If you react in a way that suggests you are worried about your child going back to school, your child may worry too! Try to remain calm and positive when talking to your child about going back to school. Use relaxation exercises, breathing and grounding techniques such as ‘noticing 5 things you can see, touch, feel, hear and taste, taking 5 deep breaths, going for a walk, rest/exercise).

There are more tips and advice available via the links below. 

Return to School - Advice for Parents on helping your child transition back Ways to support your child return to school Transition Back to School - Information for Parents and Carers