Its nearly time for children to finally go back to school, but the school day is not going to be as it was pre-Covid. New norms are being set up for school life and the changes are not going to be easy for everyone.
Some of the new norms include face mask wearing in corridors and teachers wearing masks and visors, socialising only within year groups, children staying put in one classroom whilst teachers move around to teach, different lunch-time structure, etc. So much change can be frightening for some children but parents can take steps to help our children adjust and be ready for the new school year.
Talk about Changing Norms at School
1. Talk to children about what is going to happen when they arrive at school and when they leave at the end of the day. Prepare them for the new system so it’s not a surprise on the first day back.
2. Get them used to wearing a mask if they aren’t already. Choose a mask in a design they like to encourage wearing it, and talk about the benefits of wearing a mask so they know why they need to.
3. Get children into the habit of using hand gel or washing their hands. They will have to do this throughout the school day and it will reduce the risk of spreading Covid from school to home (and vice versa).
4. Remind them about social distancing as for some children this will have gone out of the window. This will be more difficult for smaller children and hopefully the new norms will be a reminder to them, but talk about it to help them remember!
5. Explain that these changes are for everyone at school and that this isn’t forever, but it will keep them safe from infection.
6.Talk to children about their feelings about these changes and address the ones they find scary.
7. Finally, try to make sure that school mornings are relaxed and that after school they can have something to look forward to. Don’t add to their stress as many children may be worried about going back after so long off school.
Change takes time, especially when our pace of life has been so relaxed and unscheduled. Getting back to a busy life next week, that also includes many differences from their old school life, will be a big adjustment for some children. Preparing them for what lies ahead is a great way to help them adjust to new school norms, as well as helping them to feel more confident about going back to school.