With the return to school, it would be somewhat logical to think we can pick up where we left off, right?However, for many children and families, it will not be that easy.  Things have changed, we have had many experiences since the time of starting school that through some reflection contribute to confidence or concern for both parents and children. We didn’t get a huge amount of practice to get into the routines of school before things changed with isolation and lockdown.  Time has passed and getting back on track might not be the only way to approach the situation. Getting back on track implies we will be doing what we did before – but will we?  Some practices and ways of doing things may not be like before for some time – or even at all. For that reason, we have put together some things to consider on how to adapt to back to school with confidence. 

How Do We Adapt To Back To School With Confidence?

Prioritise and take stock – what is working well now – what needs some tweaking.

If it is not broken, then don’t mess with it.  If your children are eager and keen to get back in their classroom then it is an aspect that needs less consideration other than ensuring it continues.  So, what is different? Maybe it is the meal preparations or drop off that needs some attention.

From a practical point of view, we can break the focus areas into four categories.

Emotional Competency

Emotional competency may need some boosting.  After being at home moving back into being in groups, away from primary caregivers and managing different expectations will be a challenge to adjust to.  Some helpful ideas will be to discuss what is going well with your child and what it is they are worried about. Sometimes it is the very small details that once set straight can make the most amazing differences.  Being reassured they will not forget a needed item by using a calendar together, making a new bag packing checklist together may be a boost that helps promote confidence and a feeling of being prepared. The key to adapting to back to school with confidence is adequate communication on how your child is coping emotionally. 

Physical Needs

The weather is cooler, and uniforms are requiring add ons such as jackets and jumpers, things for little ones to remember that was not part of the routine before. Also bear in mind any sensory issues that may arise from new clothing. It is good practice to do a trial run of clothing before sending children off to school for the day and avoid any issues arising. All of these seemingly small changes are not something children have built up to doing – nor have families, being gentle with yourselves is important. With changing weather and routines children are often needing an extra snack for example an extra piece of fruit in their lunch box. 

Back to school with confidence

Time Management

It may take some practice for all involved to meet all the arrival expectations being on time for school. Home routines for homework and bedtime will support organisation but might not be the same as before.  Considering needs now without comparing to the prior experience of school routine makes decision making easier.  What worked for before might have been well and good – what works for now, well is what works for now.

Communication

How does communication with teachers look, with kiss and go drop off zones some families are noting less contact with other parents and it has been a gap they are needing to fill through other ways of connecting. Children’s friendships and social development are important and finding ways to develop skills in communicating on the friendship level opens up lots of possibilities using IT, writing skills, telecommunications, and good old-fashioned thinking of others.  As a mum, it is truer than true that worry creeps in. While you are considering how the little ones are coping make a point of checking in with yourself and how you are adapting to the plunge of schooling at school again. Early years of schooling is frequently a time parents miss their kid’s company as they make their way onto new discoveries. Remember to acknowledge your feelings as valid and worthy.

We Are All In This Together

Uri Bronfenbrenner proposed “in order to develop normally, a child requires progressively more complex joint activity with one or more adults who have an irrational emotional relationship with the child. Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last and always.”

For a huge number of people including adults and kids this is a chapter of their lives they have little else to compare it to and draw resources from.  While at times it might seem overwhelming and harder than other times it is important that we have managed to adapt so far.  We are all in this together is a popular reference and a strong reminder that others are experiencing challenge at this time.

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