We know that the majority of parents are over the moon that their kids will soon be back in classrooms, being taught by real teachers face to face, and we know many kids are super excited to see their friends and teachers again too.
But this has been an unprecedented 12 months and for plenty of children the thought of being back in school again will be causing them some mixed feelings. Along with the excitement there will be plenty feeling scared and worried too.
How will they cope being without their parents or carers?
Will their friends still like them, what if their friends have changed?
Will they be able to do the work?
What if they get covid, or someone in their class does, and they have to isolate again?
So, in the remaining few days or weeks (depending on which part of the UK you are in) we thought you parents might find a few of these tips useful to help keep the kids calm and prepare them for the next step out of lockdown.
1. Keep talking.
It sounds so simple, but keep asking your kids how they are feeling about going back and acknowledge their feelings might be mixed. Sometimes kids, especially younger ones are not able to express their feelings so watch out for other signs of anxiety such as changes in their sleep or eating behaviour or other behaviour changes. Don't forget to keep talking to their school too, teachers need to know if kids are having concerns about coming back so they can reassure them when they are in their care (which they no doubt will be doing anyway).
2. Keep it calm.
Sometimes you've got to fake it to make it. It might be that you parents are feeling a bit anxious about this new step too and kids are pretty good at picking up on our feelings.
Practice calming techniques such as breathing and exercise as a family to keep the anxiety levels low.
3. Switch on to school time.
We've definitely been enjoying a slightly lazier start to our weekday mornings and a slightly more relaxed attitude to bedtimes over the last couple of months, but now's the time to ease the kids back into their school routines. Sleep is so important for kids who are feeling nervous, so bring bedtime forward a bit to ensure a proper nights sleep and set the alarm a little earlier each day until you are back to school time.
4. Keep it clean
Back to school will mean a ramping up of the hand cleaning again and for some kids they will be worried about sore hands and eczema flare ups. Other kids will worry about touching things in their classroom and be concerned about keeping themselves safe. Our mini 50ml Bug Off hand sanitiser is small enough for your kids to put in their pockets so they can sanitise as and when they need, and it's gentle enough to keep their skin soft so they won't worry about using it.
At home our Scrub Up soap is also a gentle formula that's great for sensitive skin so they can wash their hands as soon as they come in from school without drying them out.
5. Turn to tech.
Whilst we are desperate for our kids to have a reduction in screen time there are some apps out there that are pretty helpful for anxious small people.
Mindshift CBT is an anxiety relief app for ages 4+ that helps users learn to relax, be mindful and use tools to take charge of their anxiety.
Calm has hundreds of Sleep Stories guaranteed to send your kids (and you) off to the land of nod in minutes. It's also got some great mediations to follow.
Headspace is one that most of us know and it has a kid's section which helps children learn to be calm and relaxed with exercises tailored for 3-5s, 6-8s and 9-12s
Moshi is another brilliant audio app that helps kids get to sleep faster and stay asleep for longer.
6. Do a dry run.
Build a walk past their school into the daily activity if you can. Kids might be anxious about being late or not remembering which entrance to go into (some schools have different entrances and exits during covid regulations) and a couple of dry runs will help them get back into the swing of things.
7. Zoom with mates.
Set up a zoom with some of their friends. They might be used to seeing their mates in online classes but if they are worried about whether they all still get on then a fun informal chat can help reassure them. Sometimes smaller kids can find chatting in this format a bit awkward so help them out by organising some simple ice breakers, like everyone bringing a teddy to introduce or a simple and easy quiz to start things off.