• Deirdre Brandner

Returning to School In Stage 4

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Some parents leapt with joy that remote learning was coming to an end and that their child is now allowed to return to school next term. However, be mindful that our absolute joy that the nightmare of remote learning is over may not be reciprocated by your offspring.

Other parents and children may have felt nervous or reluctant about the return to school. Some of us might feel nervous about contracting COVID, frustrated with reopening plans or are even sceptical about rule-following.

Model positivity

They will already have their own anxieties, and they don’t need to be taking on ours. It’s vital that parents are modelling emotions that give our child confidence about returning to school. If you think it’s okay that your child is returning to school, so will they. Luckily Term 4 is full of lots of positive and exciting times as well as the anticipation of Summer holidays.

Talk with them

Have honest and open discussions with your child based on their age and maturity. Help them focus on what they can control, washing hands, keeping social distance where necessary. Focus on what we know. Discuss how to pick up and drop might look different. Explain that it is okay if they take the time to learn the new rules.


Some children will be anxious about separating from you, others will be socially cautious about perceived changes in friendships and group dynamics. Others will want to see their friends but will be worried about the academic load.

  • Listen and reflect

  • Acknowledge their concerns

  • Make a list of worries from smallest to largest.

  • Help them identify how likely each worry is

  • Help them identify evidence for helpful thinking.

  • Develop a plan to problem solve concerns

  • Put boundaries around worrying, e.g. address the ‘list’ once a day for 15mins only…not at bedtime.

Coping Thoughts

Focus on what you will get to do at school

Talk about the things you missed most about school.

The school want us to spend time with our friends.

We will not be doing a catch up of the whole year’s work.

Lots of children missed out on learning during COVID.

After a few days school will feel normal

What can I do to prepare my child?

Start getting into a routine now to help with the transition.

Adjust bedtime and wake-ups to model the school day

Get changed and eat breakfast together.

Use lunch boxes, Reduce screen time.

Connect with friends or peers

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