It is so exciting that Primary Schools in Melbourne are reopening after nearly two terms of remote, online learning. There will be celebrations and sighs of relief from many parents, students and teachers.
It will be wonderful to be back to “normal”, all will be better!
For a large number of children it will be terrific to be with friends and to be in their classroom doing lessons. Online lessons were great but nothing beats throwing a ball with friends in a PE lesson, using paints in Art, and borrowing real books from the library; the list is endless.
For some children and families this may not be the case.
It is important to be curious as your child begins the process of restarting at school.
How are they feeling?
How are they behaving?
How does your child feel generally on that first day of school, or starting at a new school? These emotions may be heightened as children return to onsite learning. The expectation of returning to school may not match up to the reality.
For some children the school environment poses them concerns. Friendship, learning, socializing may be points of issue. Added to this for many children there may be concerns about their health. For many months, they have seen and heard that being with others could make them sick.
Normalizing all these emotions and thoughts is vital. Talking about these feelings may help your child to manage this transition. It may be an essential part of this process. It is okay for a child to be excited, to be worried, to be nervous, and to have waves of all of these emotions.
You child may like to draw pictures, write thoughts or stories to help them navigate this space. Giving them the freedom to express themselves may make the transition smoother.
Be kind to yourself as well. Remember that feeling you had when taking your child to their first day of school, sending them to a new school or their first day of high school. Those feelings of will my child be okay; will they fit in, will they be safe, will they cope with the learning? These emotions maybe at the forefront of your mind as you take your child to school. As with your child, all the reactions, questions and concerns you have are okay.
Use your support network to talk about your feelings, keep in contact with your child’s teacher and the school. Remember you are not alone; there is no right way to react. This is a new experience for everyone. Look after yourself and your child.