Over the past months, our children have had to adapt to events which they are likely to remember for the rest of their lives. While some of us may tell tales of walking miles to school in icy conditions, or times when we had to stay home because we were very ill, the quarantine and school closures will be the stuff of legend for a whole generation of children.
For some kids this has been like an extended school holiday, either because they are naturally happy-go-lucky, or because they’ve been having a lot of fun at home. For others this has been a difficult time as they have been faced with a lot of complex issues which they’ve been expected to understand and adapt to quickly. Plus, there are the pressures that some of us have faced with working from home or being a key worker - not all of us have had the time to create comprehensive homeschooling programmes.
We’ve all pulled through as best we can, in the hopes that our children remember this as a time when the family worked together in the face of uncertainty.
The next challenge we face is preparing our children to return to school. How hard this will be will vary from child to child. Some will be desperate to get back to the classroom (and the playground!), but for some, there are important conversations to be had and we have some tips for topics to raise with your kids before the new term starts.
Though there are attempts to roll out national guidance, each school is going to be trialling different things and these are going to take some getting used to. If you haven’t heard from your child’s school already, check their website or give them a call to see if they have any specific guidelines. Talking these through with your child will give them the chance to raise questions which you can work through together.
Whatever challenges have been thrown your way in the lockdown, there are likely to be families who have experienced completely different ones. Encourage your child to think about the kinds of things their classmates may have gone through and how they’ve felt about them. If your child is feeling positive about going back to school, think together about why other children may have a hard time adjusting to a structured day and how they can be sensitive about that. Perhaps they may need others to show them compassion too, which can be a great place to start the conversation.
The most important thing is that we allow our children to raise their concerns and take them seriously. They will be well prepared to face the new term if they feel that they always have a loving support base at home when times are hard.