Welcome to Term four!
Our final term of the school year and a great term as we welcome back all of our students.
Many parents and students will be very excited about returning to school but there may be some children who will be feeling quite anxious and nervous about leaving the comforts of home.
Today’s reading looks at how you can help prepare your child for a return to school.
if you feel your child may be anxious please feel free to contact myself or the school to assist you with the transition.
Preparing for return to on-site learning
Some children may need time and support to transition back to school. They may benefit from preparation and planning for their return especially those who are known to find transitions challenging.
Families may consider the following strategies to support children with positive transitions.
- Communicate clearly with your child about what to expect. Your child may feel more confident about returning to school if they know what to expect. Looking at photos of familiar faces and places around the school, alongside information about any new routines may also help with the transition.
- Consider how you can support your child’s psychological well-being. Create opportunities for your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings about the transition. Various types of anxiety, in particular, separation anxiety, may be heightened in some children. Speak to the school to develop a plan for drop-off if you think your child may experience separation anxiety.
- Check-in with teachers. Let your child’s teacher know of any changes you’ve noticed in your child. Talk about what strategies you have found has helped recently. Let your teacher know if there are any specific changes that might unsettle your child.
- Keep calm. Remember that children pick up on adults’ behavioural cues. To help your child stay relaxed and feel safe, modeling calm behaviour yourself is important.Be prepared that their emotions may change and let them know that this is completely okay.
- Have a leaving plan. To keep goodbyes from becoming difficult for older children, try the following:
- Make goodbyes positive.
- Announce that you’re leaving.
- Make your explanation for leaving clear and short.
- Remind your child that you will be back for them.
- Do not hesitate when leaving.
- Do not return until the planned time.
- Follow the same routine every time you leave or drop off your child.
- Same, but different: Together with your child/ren, consider what parts of the transition may be the same or predictable. Ask them what differences they are aware of/expect, sharing information relevant for their age. Offer choices about any part of the situation that is negotiable.
- Re-establish normal routines in the lead up to school:
• The week before: Return children to their usual wake up and bedtime routines, as well as breakfast and morning snack/lunch.
• The day before: Involve your child in packing their bag and preparing their uniform – this leaves you plenty of time to notice if anything is forgotten.
• The morning of: Allow more time than usual to get ready.
Prepare your child for this by:
• discussing what might be different about the drop off and pick up procedures and how you will manage it as a family
• talk through the new procedure and role play or write social stories
• reassure your child that there will be plenty of staff to help take them to their classrooms
• ask your child if there is anything that will make this easier for them, such as arriving to school with a buddy or taking a special item that helps them feel ‘brave’.
Returning to school before siblings
Younger children returning to school earlier than other family members may feel disappointed that their siblings are continuing with home learning or may feel disconnected from the family.
You can help your child by
: • reassuring them that is ok to feel disappointed
• explaining that all children will be returning to school soon
• allowing your child to pick a fun activity to complete when they get home from school so that they have something to look forward to
• avoid scheduling any ‘fun’ activities with other family members or friends whilst your child is at school.
BEHAVIOURAL CONCERN SUGGESTED SUPPORT
Separation anxieties -Prepare your child, set up routines, and offer transitional objects like a favourite toy. Focus on security with parent(s) and building your child’s connection with teachers and other carers.
Fears around COVID-19- Share facts and empower your child with opportunities for positive action. Extend their critical literacy and have calm conversations.
Anxiety or avoidance of school- Address any needs around friendship, schoolwork, or bullying. Educate your child about anxiety. Empower them through opportunities to make their own choices, preparation, and plans. (Hey Sigmund)