Your child might still have worries about the virus or restrictions in place. It’s important to acknowledge that this is a difficult time.
It’s important to give your child the message that returning to school is a big step and you understand that. Talk to them in a way that is sensitive to their needs – you will know your child best. Don’t intrude or impose yourself on them, but gently open the conversation and let them know you’re there for them if they want to talk.
Talk about our SOPs. Make sure they understand our “new normal” and its importance in keeping our Kingsgate community safe.
Sleep is very important for your child’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as their development. Try and help your child build a healthy sleep routine which they can maintain whether attending school in person or not.
There are four main factors that affect our quality of sleep:
As anyone who has tried to sleep with a headache or cough knows, physical health problems can stop you from getting a good night’s sleep. Mental health problems (like anxiety or depression) can also affect our sleep.
The bedroom should be someplace that is associated with sleep. Where possible, try to remove distractions from the bedroom, such as televisions, computer games and phone charging stations.
Lying awake in bed, particularly before an important day, can make us worry. This worry then makes it harder to get to sleep. Instead of staying in bed and getting more and more frustrated, have your child try getting up and making a warm drink. This should make them feel sleepier.
There a number of things you can do every day to improve the quality of your sleep. Eating rice, oats and dairy products can produce chemicals that increase our desire to sleep. Exercising on a regular basis can also help reduce anxiety, relieve stress and help sleep.
Coping strategies are what we use when feeling stressed, such as speaking with friends or family, doing regular exercise, or using breathing techniques. If you feel comfortable, you could share with your child your own worries and feelings about the current situation and coping strategies you are using to manage these feelings. Acknowledge that it’s normal to feel anxious about going back to school – try sharing an example of a time you’ve felt anxious about going into a new situation.
Encourage your child to focus on the present and avoid thinking too far ahead. Thinking too far ahead can feel overwhelming. Focus on what is in their control (hand washing, wearing masks, staying socially distanced, etc.) rather than what they can’t control (what might happen with the pandemic in months to come).
Make Yourself Available as Much as Possible
Children may want to come and “debrief” but maybe not when you expect. Create space for talking duringdifferent activities, such as going on a walk together or baking together – there may be less pressure in these circumstances than when sitting face-to-face. Check in with your child periodically. Don’t assume they’re ok because they seem it. Ask how things are going. Ask them questions like: what have they enjoyed about being back? Any worries or challenges?
Look at the Positives
It might be helpful to talk with your child about the things they have enjoyed during the pandemic and what they may be looking forward to, like their favourite shop reopening, seeing friends at school, or getting ice cream from their favourite café.