Tomorrow Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 students will be returning to school. On 9th June, the remaining levels will join them. Being back at school is a two-edge sword for everyone. There is lots of information about how school will work. Lots of new information to remember. But if your brain is exploding and you just want 5 top tips to help you and your child navigate back into the school environment – here they are:
1. Ease Back into a Routine
Times have been uncertain, and to a degree, they remain uncertain. Unfortunately COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while to come. But we are creatures of habit and there is comfort in routines – so start phasing them back in:
· Sleep times
· Meals – especially breakfast as it helps frame the whole day
Today take the time to get your child to pack their bag - making a special effort to remember their drink bottle. Take a walk and pick which entrance your kids might like to use… stuff like that! Routines will help the day become a little more predictable. So when there is a blowout (and there will be), you’ll be just that little bit more robust and able to handle it.
2. Practice – and Talk Again
Washing hands, coughing into your elbow, using your own drink bottle. Practicing safe behaviours at home makes them an everyday habit – and that isn’t a bad thing. It also gives you a chance to talk. All this emphasis on being ‘safe’ can actually make kids feel the opposite. So explain that these are precautions. That we can’t control everything, but we can try to prevent them.
3. Be Kind – and Calm
To yourself and others. Everyone’s circumstances are different. Not all of your child’s friends might come back to school. Days won’t always go to plan. Your child might forget their water bottle. You might be running late. Explain to your child (and yourself) that these are not 10’s on the rictal scale. Problem solve what bothers you. Your child's friend might not be a school, but maybe you want to stay in touch out of school? Go for a walk or just talk on facetime? That would be kind, and keep them feeling connected.
4. Don’t be in a Rush
While school might be phasing back, our lives aren’t the same. Some of us don’t have the jobs we had before. Others aren’t in the same financial situation. Don’t rush or feel you need to conform to some sort of society expectation of what parents do when their kids are back at school. Don’t feel that your kids have to as well. They are used to spending more time with you. While they’ll enjoy school, they’ll be missing you. A simple walk after school rather than trying to re-establish afterschool activities might be just the ticket!
5. Stay in Touch
Parents won’t be picking up kids from the classroom, but teachers are only a phone call away. The weekly calls from teachers during learning at home were invaluable and eased so many people’s concerns. It also showed our kids how we all worked together to problem solve. So if you have questions or worries – stay in touch and simply call the school.
At the beginning of all of this Clunes Primary School said one thing – your family’s health and wellbeing is the first and foremost priority. Now, more than ever, that message still applies.