Wow. As schools begin to re-open fully, and the start of lockdown is finally starting to feel like a lifetime away, it’s surreal to look back on the year and know we’ve survived months of homeschooling! Who could have guessed that would have been on the agenda for the year?!
Whether there was lots you loved about life without school, or you were desperate to get your family back to some ‘normality’, here are our top tips on helping you support your kids through the return to ‘real school’ as we begin to adjust to life beyond lockdown.
Find out what has changed
School might be slightly different to when your kids left it depending on when that was. To start with, for many children the classroom they left was likely filled with Christmas decorations and festive memories. Just how much your child’s day-to-day differs will depend on the individual setting but take time to talk to their teachers and your children to find out what your child’s school routine looks like.
- Are there any new rules?
- Are they in the same classroom, what does it look like?
- Is their school routine any different?
- Which friends are they mixing with?
The more detail you can get, the easier it will be to ease any anxieties for your children.
Chat to your kids
Now you know what to expect, have a chat to your child. Make it a nice occasion. Maybe a relaxed chat over cake? Talk to them about their experience at school and ask them how they’re feeling about it all. Do they have any worries?
You could also reflect on the time you had together ‘homeschooling’. What did they like about it and are there any elements you can try to keep in your routine before and after school?
This is still an uncertain time for our kids (and us!) so it’s natural if they have questions, worries or simply lots of confusing emotions! Be there to listen. It’s OK not to offer a fix but let them know it’s safe for them to express all that’s going on for them through this transition. Perhaps encourage them to write down their feelings in a journal to help them better understand them.
Up the silliness
Laughter really is the best medicine! Which means if you can muster the energy, more playful moments (which bring on the giggles) will help your kids let off built-up stress without as many meltdowns. Phew!
Fill up your own cup
Lockdown life has been challenging to say the least and you need a rest, Mama! But before we know it, we’re back to the strains of the school routine of early mornings, extra laundry and getting homework done before bedtime. If you can, take time to ‘fill up your own cup’, so you are re-energised. Whether it’s an extra-long bath, a walk without the kids or just half an hour to read a book while they watch TV... Pause and do something for you.
Add in more play
It’s totally OK if you’re absolutely knackered and can do nothing more than pop on the TV and sit with them for a cuddle! But, if you do have a few energy reserves, add in more quality play time with your kids. Connection through play helps our children feel safe and valued, lowering their stress levels, and helping them stay present rather than lost in their nerves. If you're fresh out of ideas, try a play pack or games pack to support their learning and development in a playful way or introduce some school themed activities to help them act out their day and process the big emotions.