Helping Your Child with Post Lockdown Stress
Talk About It
It is a good idea to ask your child to write a list of questions that concern them about returning to school. This is an opportunity to re-assure them that, thankfully, Covid 19 has actually harmed very few children indeed statistically.
Start as You Mean to Go On
Remember all those things you wished you hadn’t let go during lockdown? Now is the time to set up a new routine with regular meals, homework, chores and leisure time. Habits are essential to regulate our moods. This will help them feel more secure and in control.
Talk to the Teacher (especially if it is a transition year)
Take any opportunity to talk to the teacher or school about your child’s special needs, personality, strengths and weaknesses. This may be a challenge, due to Covid 19 restrictions, but not to be overlooked. Understanding a child usually helps teachers teach that child more effectively. It is a good idea to get the children on the teacher’s radar if you have major concerns. One of my own children experienced some ‘extra’ anxiety going up to secondary school. We made sure we spoke to the SEN (special educational needs) Coordinator and got them, some extra visits to the school, to familiarise himself. They then showed us around as if they owned it!
Many children have had very little contact with their friends. More introverted children may be exhausted from returning to school and many may take some time to adjust. I would expect a few ups and downs as children get used to meeting real people again and re-learn the social skills they may have forgotten.
Children will look to us to set the mood. We have all experienced stress and maybe loss during the lockdown. A positive ‘we can do this’ is the best attitude. This time will pass, and we will overcome together.
Practical preparations are important to help the child get ready mentally. A new uniform or bag might seem a small thing, but it can help your child imagine themselves into their return. It may also be a good opportunity to talk through their hopes and fears.
Having 6 months of no school is not going to be corrected overnight! It may be quite some time before children have caught up with where they need to be. For some of the weaker students it may be necessary to seek out extra support.
All change is stressful even if it is ‘good’ change. I would encourage all parents and teachers to normalise the situation as much as possible, while being sensitive and thoughtful about the adjustments needed. A bit of extra down time, a good routine and a few extra hugs will go a long way.
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