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Top tips for preparing your child to return to school
Alex Brown / 30 May 2020 / Categories: News

Top tips for preparing your child to return to school

Whether your child returns to school in the next couple of weeks or later, they may feel both excitement and apprehension. Like any change, parents can play a role in enabling the transition to be positive, by talking about what to expect and how they feel.

Amanda Briggs, AKS Prep School PSHE Coordinator; Wellbeing Lead and Year 3 teacher, shares practical advice for families:

Preparing for the return:

  • Talk to your child about what to expect and how school will look and feel different; what the new procedures are and why they are in place. Talk through their school day, so that they understand which door they will use to enter / leave the building; how they will eat, work and play in a ‘pod’; how lunch will work; the importance of handwashing and how social distancing will be encouraged.
  • AKS parents are encouraged to watch our videos and view our Parent Handbooks on our dedicated COVID page. Watching the relevant video with your child will help them see what they can expect when they come into school and will reassure them that the same warm welcome awaits them as usual.
  • Give your child time to digest the information and ask any questions and share any worries. Offer reassurance to help settle their mind. The calmer and more positive you are, the more confident your child will be. You might also discuss what might help them feel more comfortable returning (support from you or us).
  • If only one of your children is returning, explain why that is and what it will mean for them. If their siblings are going to continue Remote Learning at home, it will be helpful for them to understand why their year groups are returning and how they are lucky to be going back first!

When you collect your child from school:

  • Encourage your child to talk about their day in a tone which shows you expect a positive response. What did they do? What was the best bit? How did they find the new routines? Was there anything they found hard?
  • Listen attentively, ask open questions, empathise with how they feel.
  • If you feel that they may benefit from talking to Mrs Briggs, please contact her to arrange a call.

If your child is not returning to school at the same time as their year group:

  • There may be family and/or personal circumstances which mean that your child is not due to return to school at the same time as their year group. If this the case for your child, they may find it more difficult to be at home, if they know that friends are getting together at school. If this is the case for your child, they may benefit from understanding the reason why they are not going back; and being able to ask questions.
  • Praise how they have been coping so far and all the things they are doing which make you feel proud.
  • Ask your child what could make it easier for them, perhaps ensuring they connect with their friends on a more frequent basis. It will also be reassuring to explain that there will be a time when they can return, but until then you will do your best to help them stay in contact with their friends and continue to access Remote Learning from home.

Coping with feelings:

Try these ideas to help your child cope if their feelings overwhelm them:

  • Make a special place in their room or make a Coping Toolbox, filled with things that remind them of good times, or which may make them feel better. Examples include photos of friends or family, a special gift, a favourite teddy, or toy.
  • Create a Feelings Chart to help them communicate how they are feeling. It could use numbers, colours or pictures which reflect a variety of things they may feel (e.g. sun, rain, storm; or 1-10 on a ‘happiness’ or ‘worried’ scale).
  • Keep a Feelings Diary, to track how they are feeling over time.
  • Make a Happy & Worry jar or box - decorate it and write messages to ‘post’ in the jar.
  • Choose three ways to feel better. Create a list of ways to feel better, write them down and keep them in a jar. Draw three out at random. Examples include: have a dance, listen to a favourite piece of music, colour or draw a picture, smell your favourite smell, hug a toy, think of a happy memory, send a friend a positive message, ask for help, watch television, read a book, imagine your favourite place, have a nap.
  • Take 5 deep breaths or imagine you are blowing the biggest bubble.

Mrs Briggs will be available every Thursday at 4pm for one-to-one Skype calls with any child at AKS Nursery & Preparatory School who is feeling anxious. Please contact her to arrange a call if you feel your child may benefit:

AKS Preparatory School and Nursery has been open to the children of key workers throughout lockdown and welcomed all children in Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 back to school on 1st June; Years 10 and 12 on 15th June; and Years 2-5 on 22nd June. The nursery and prep school children have returned on a full-time basis. Those who are shielding or choose to remain at home are able to continue to access four live Skype lessons per day. The full school day is taught via live Skype lessons in Senior School.

You can find out more about Remote Learning at AKS here, and watch our Remote Learning video here 01253 784100.


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