Returning to school

Whether your child has gone back to school yet or not, they may be feeling anxious about what to expect. Looking forward to the best bits can help.

Young boy doing school work

Ask how they’re feeling

  • Even if your child doesn’t seem too worried, it’s still important to ask how they feel about returning to school.
  • If they are visibly worried, ask them what they feel anxious about. It’s easier for you to support them if they have a particular concern.
  • Reassure them it’s OK to have these worries and praise them for sharing them with you.

Make a plan

Worries and anxious thoughts can happen if your child feels out of control. It helps to find things they can control and start from there:

  • Can they make the school routine more enjoyable? Try making a morning playlist or walking to school with friends.
  • Young children might not have seen friends since school closed. Could you arrange a socially distanced meeting beforehand?
  • How will they get used to the new routine and get enough sleep? Could they practise waking up early for a few days before school starts?
  • Ask what they will miss from being at home. Are they worried they won’t get to spend as much time with you? Reassure them and continue to make time for this once school resumes.
  • Children who have to get to school by themselves might be nervous if they haven’t done this for a long time. Practise the journey with them beforehand, or go with them on the first day back.

Find the positives

After so much time away, hopefully your child will also have things to look forward to. These might include:

  • Seeing their friends again.
  • Having renewed independence (taking themselves to and from school).
  • Their favourite subject and/or teacher.
  • Getting back into a routine. This makes free time more fun.

    Explore coping strategies

    Sometimes anxiety can feel overwhelming or even cause panic attacks. There are lots of activities you can try in our emotional wellbeing section.

    Feel good activities

    Suggest they make a list of feel good activities to do when they’re having a bad day. They could choose a reward for themselves, too. Or make a soothing box to fill with items they like the look, smell, touch or taste of.

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